San Diego State Top Arizona State, 80-68

San Diego State Top Arizona State, 80-68

Mountain West Basketball

San Diego State Top Arizona State, 80-68

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San Diego State Top Arizona State, 80-68


Aztecs top a ranked Sun Devils


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Big win for SDSU.

San Diego State finished last season with a 30-2 record, a MWC regular season title, and a would-of-been top seed in the Big Dance. The best season in program history- and that’s saying a lot- was cut short due to COVID-19, and for years the Aztecs will be wondering how far they would’ve gone in the Field of 68. 

Fast forward seven months to the start of the 2020-2021 season, and the Aztecs are nowhere to be found in the Preseason Top 25 once again. Another year, another form of blatant disrespect for a much heralded program. 

The Aztecs opened against a ranked opponent, #22 UCLA and had no issues. Then the Aztecs beat Saint Katherine, UC Irvine and Pepperdine and barely got included in the Top 25. 

Fast forward to December 10, in Tempe, Arizona. Top 25 battle, Aztecs vs #23 Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe. Perhaps the biggest game of the entire year for the boys from Montezuma Mesa, and the Aztecs were ready for the challenge, topping Arizona State 80-68 in a statement victory.  

The first half was close as could be, and the Aztecs went into the half with a 35-33 lead after finally jumping out to a quick start. Coach Dutcher’s team jumped out to a 14-2 lead after starting slow in the first four games of the year.

After the half was a different story, and the Sun Devils showed a ton of fight. Arizona State took their first lead of the game early in the second quarter before the Aztecs came back and ran away with this one. 

Senior Jordan Schakel led the way for the Aztecs, finishing with 25 points on a 9-15 clip which included five three-pointers. Nathan Mensah was dominant all night in the paint and had a first half double-double, then finished the night with 17 points and 16 boards. Matt Mitchell added 14 points on just 1-7 from the field, but the Aztecs resilience and grit was once again what led the way. 

Arizona State senior Alonzo Verge Jr. led all scorers with 25 points on 8-20 from the field, including an impressive 7-14 clip from beyond the arc. Standout freshman Josh Christopher had 13 points and Jalen Graham finished with 10 as the Sun Devils suffered their second loss of the season. 

Now that Thursday night’s game is behind us, it’s time to ask. Are the Aztecs legitimate? Are the Aztecs once again a threat to make a deep run? 

Answer? Absolutely.

Yes, they lost Malachi Flynn to the NBA and the Toronto Raptors, and they lost Yonni Wetzell as well. Needless to say those are huge losses, especially Flynn who was so dominant in his one season in Red and Black. 

What nobody realizes is the Aztecs added, added and added some more. 

Senior guard Terrell Gomez- a Cal State Northeidge transfer- averaged just north of 19 points per game the last two years, and shot over 40% from the field and beyond the arc in each of his three years at CSUN. 

The Aztecs also brought Joshua Tomaic over from Maryland, and then added freshman Lamont Butler and freshman Keith Dinwiddie Jr, not to mention the return and expected surge of Trey Pullman who has been thrusted into the starting lineup. 

Oh, and do we mention Sophomore Keshad Johnson who the coaches and teammates constantly rave about? 

Yes, this Aztecs team might be even deeper and more talented than last year’s 30-2, and this last game against the Sun Devils should prove just how dangerous they are. 

Year after year San Diego State is overlooked because of the mediocrity of the Mountain West in recent years, but after losing 2 of their last 37 games, it’s time to put those thoughts to the side and acknowledge that this team can make another long run- and potentially- finish the season unscathed. 

Brian Dutcher’s team has a week off before facing BYU and St. Mary’s- both huge games- before moving into conference play.

The question remains: how far can this team go? 

Only time will tell. 


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