SDSU Defeats Iowa 83-73 To Win Las Vegas Invitational
Aztecs guard Malachi Flynn is named Tournament MVP after a stellar performance against the formidable Iowa Hawkeyes.
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The Aztecs will garner national attention after two resume-building statement wins and a tournament trophy.
Las Vegas, NV- The San Diego State Aztecs (8-0, 0-0 MWC) started off shaky against the Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2, 0-0 B10) in the Continental Tires Las Vegas Invitational Championship game. After being down by as much as 16 points, the Aztecs dug deep to turn the tables on a formidable Hawkeyes team to win 83-73.
The Aztecs were competitive in the first half, and led 20-19 in the start, but a one-two punch of a flagrant foul against Nathan Mensah and a simultaneous foul on a three-point shot gave Iowa FIVE free throws, and they made 5/5. Then, the Aztecs managed only two points on the next dozen possessions, at which point the Hawkeyes went on a stunning run led by 6’11” starter Luka Garza until he picked up a pair of fouls.
After being down by as many as 16, the Aztecs rallied and managed to cut the halftime deficit to nine with a score of 41-32. Despite trailing, the Aztecs shot 52.2% and were 50% behind the arc on 12 attempts.
Whatever Brian Dutcher and company said to his team at the half: it put some serious nitro into the fuel tank. The Aztecs returned in the second period playing full-throttle basketball.
During the second half the Aztecs started off with a 12-2 run, and ultimately shot 52% from the field while outscoring Iowa 51-32. This was in no small part due to aggressive SDSU defense. After regaining the lead on a Wetzell 3-pointer (you heard that right), the Aztecs never gave the lead up, and executed a remarkable 18/19 free throws.
Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzell played phenomenally, with Flynn scoring 28 points in the second half and nearly outscoring Iowa single-handedly in that period. Flynn shot ridiculous long-range three’s and seemed unstoppable driving to the paint at times, prompting the announcers to note he needs to be closely guarded out to 30 feet. He was also 9/9 at the line.
Wetzell scored inside the paint, defended fiercely, grabbed boards and the 6’10” center even helped turn the tide with a knock-down three pointer to contribute 14.
Jordan Schakel kept his remarkable accuracy and was 4/4 behind the arc also adding 14. Matt Mitchell chipped in 11 and KJ Feagin managed 10.
In the end, the Aztecs finished 83-73, winning by 10.
Congratulations to San Diego State University, your 2019 Continental Tire Las Vegas International Champion- and to Malachi Flynn the Tournament MVP.
This season the stars do appear to be in alignment for the Aztecs. The team’s talent level is off the charts, and everybody is playing well. Even coach Brian Dutcher appears to be taking his coaching to a whole new level.