San Diego State Upsets #6 Nevada
The Aztecs essentially go wire to wire in a convincing victory over Nevada
Viejas Arena continues being a house of horrors for Nevada
Since entering the conference Nevada has never won at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs are riding a 12 game conference home winning streak that dates back to last year.
It seemed liked that would change as the Wolf Pack came into the game with a 24-1 record, and a #6 ranking. As much as things change, they stay the same as San Diego State turned back the clock and defeated Nevada behind some old-fashioned suffocating defense, 65-57.
Behind its biggest crowd of the season, the Aztecs pounced on the Wolf Pack early and rushed out to an early lead. The first half was a sloppy affair with San Diego State (32.4%) and Nevada (30.4%) both shooting under 33%. More surprising was that the star players for both teams were held scoreless. San Diego State forward Jalen McDaniels and Nevada each had a goose egg after twenty minutes.
The big difference was the turnover battle, the Aztecs had three, the Wolf Pack had 10. This led to a 30-21 lead for San Diego State going into intermission.
In the second half the Aztecs got careless and mixed good defense with sloppy offense. Somehow San Diego State got the lead to 16 midway through the second half, but the Wolf Pack would not go out that easily.
They fought back and made a run to bring the lead to double digits. The Aztec faithful, all 12,414 of them, would not allow the Aztecs to let the lead slip away. San Diego State responded to each Nevada run and rode their defense and the crowd to the victory.
“That environment was incredible. It reminded me of a few years back. It was good to have the building packed liked that. We treated the crowd to an old-fashioned Aztec win. Defense and rebounding keyed it,” San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher said after the game.
Seniors Devin Watson and Jeremy Hemsley led the way for the Aztecs with 15 points apiece. Watson finished with eight assists and five rebounds. While Hemsley added sic rebounds to his stat line.
Sophomore star Jalen McDaniels was the only other Aztec in double figures as he finished with 10 points and six rebounds. In his first game back from injury Jordan Schakel hit two big three-pointers that on separate occasions pushed the lead to 12 points.
Matt Mitchell filled the stat sheet with eight points, a team-leading nine rebounds, and some hard-nosed defense on Nevada’s Jordan Caroline.
“Matt Mitchell, the job he did on Jordan Caroline was A+. I mean, Jordan Caroline has got a chance to be MVP of the conference,” Dutcher added.
Caroline did not score his first point until 15:54 of the second half, and would finish with six points. Cody Martin was a one man Wolf Pack scoring 20 points and finishing with seven rebounds.
No one else hit double figures and the Nevada starters ended up shooting 12-42, 28.5%. Nevada coach Eric Musselman was not happy with the refs all night, but was also unhappy with his team not stepping up to big time crowds.
“We have to step up on a big stage and play. We’ve played in front of two really great crowds at New Mexico and here and we didn’t play like we are capable of.”
Nevada heads home to host Fresno State on Saturday night in an important league game. San Diego State now faces off against UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center.