Mountain West Basketball Tournament 2018: San Diego State defeats Fresno State, 64-52
San Diego State holds off pesky Fresno State to win in Mountain West Tournament.
– Contact/Follow @ErwinSports
The Aztecs ride a winning streak to Las Vegas.
Before busses loaded for Las Vegas and once the buzzer sounded at Viejas Arena, San Diego State received news of their next redemption tour stop: Fresno State.
Despite Fresno State owning the head-to-head against San Diego State in the regular season, including 3 straight wins dating back to the championship round of the 2016 Mountain West tournament, the Aztecs were excited.
The difference between now and the last two dates against Fresno State: a healthy Trey Kell riding a 6-game win streak.
Kell had been dealing with an ankle injury since the Wooden Classic, and re-aggrovated his ankle during Mountain West play leading him to attend four games in street clothes. The Aztecs and Kell knew that 3 consecutive neutral site games in March would be their only shot to return to the NCAA Tournament.
The hottest team in the Mountain West was salivating at the chance of facing Fresno State on Thursday afternoon.
From the tip, it was sloppy. Turnovers here, a missed shot there. San Diego State and Fresno State were trading buckets and boards throughout the first half. It was only until the 3:53 mark when Kameron Rooks scored the Aztecs’ 25th point that they never let go of a lead. Despite a solid senior night performance against Nevada, Rooks was relegated to the bench in favor for Jalen McDaniels.
Trey Kell lead the Aztecs in scoring with 16 points, but his on-court presence helped calm the Aztecs while they looked amateurish. The Aztecs weathered the storm in the first half and surprisingly they came to play defense as the game entered the the final 10 minutes.
The Aztecs held the Bulldogs at a 37.7% and a 22% beyond the arc. The Bulldogs at point were shooting 10% on 3-pointers.
Despite the Bulldogs’ Bryson Williams keeping the Bulldogs in the game with 23 points, but 3 minutes without a score did them in.
The Aztecs found their groove back with Trey Kell taking the lead.
Next stop on the redemption tour: a third date with Nevada.