2019 Mountain West Tournament: Three Keys For Nevada vs San Diego State
In the Mountain West Semifinals, this will be the third meeting.
Wolf Pack and Aztecs Square Off In Mountain West Tourney Semifinals
The Nevada Wolf Pack will take on the San Diego State Aztecs in the semifinal round of the Mountain West tournament on Friday night at 6 p.m. PST on CBS Sports Network.
The Wolf Pack advanced to the semifinal round by coming back from a double-digit deficit to defeat Boise State 77-69 in the quarterfinal round on Thursday. San Diego State advanced to the semifinal round by defeating UNLV in a hard-fought contest by a score of 63-55 in their quarterfinal game. The Wolf Pack and the Aztecs are meeting up for the third time this season with San Diego State defeating Nevada in the first meeting back in February and the Wolf Pack returning the favor by blowing out the Aztecs five days ago in Reno in their second contest.
This will be the first time the Wolf Pack and the Aztecs will play in the Mountain West tournament since San Diego State dominated Nevada in last year’s semi-final game by a score of 90-73 on their way to winning the Mountain West tournament and the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
This match-up between Nevada and San Diego State has the potential to be a competitive battle that may not be decided until the final minutes of the game.
Here are the keys for this third game between Nevada and San Diego State
Nevada must play a full 40 minutes
In the win over Boise State on Thursday afternoon, Nevada struggled early on and was down 15 to the Broncos before Nevada pulled it together and in the end was able to come away with the victory.
Knowing this team is no strange when it comes to coming back from large deficits in the postseason (see their comeback wins in the NCAA tournament over Texas and Cincinnati last season) it is imperative that the Wolf Pack play well for a full 40 minutes. Nevada cannot afford a slow start against a San Diego State team that dominated the Wolf Pack last month in San Diego and in the Mountain West tournament semifinals last year.
For Nevada to return the favor and eliminate the Aztecs in this year’s Mountain West tournament semifinal, the Wolf Pack must bring their A-game for 40 minutes without letup.
Continue to get stellar play from Jazz Johnson and Tre’Shawn Thurman
In the victory over Boise State in the quarterfinal round, the Wolf Pack got their usual production from Caleb and Cody Martin but it was the clutch performances from Tre’ Shawn Thurman and Jazz Johnson that was key in Nevada coming back from a 15 point deficit to defeat the Broncos.
Thuman scored 17 points (8-10 FG) and grabbed five rebounds for the Wolf Pack while Jazz Johnson, who came off the bench for Nevada, scored 20 points and went 5-7 from the three-point line in the winning effort over Boise State. Without the fantastic play from Thurman and Johnson, Nevada would not have advanced to the semifinals.
Rebound, Rebound and Rebound
In the second match-up against San Diego State, the Wolf Pack out-rebounded San Diego State 42-25 as Nevada’s dominance on the boards was key in their victory of the Aztecs. In their quarterfinal match against Boise State, the Wolf Pack ended up outrebounding Boise State by a count of 33-25.
In those two games it is obvious that the Wolf Pack’s success in out-rebounding the opposition was essential in them coming away with the win. The Aztecs are a tough, physical team that has given Nevada some fits so it is important for Nevada to win the rebounding battle in order for the Wolf Pack to be victorious on Friday night in Las Vegas.
It would be beneficial for Nevada to continue to get this type of excellent production from Thurman and Johnson as it would help the Wolf Pack in their contest against the Aztecs in the semifinal round.