Aztecs Survive Bulldogs 65-64 In Double Overtime Nail Biter
The Aztecs’ Senior Night victory might be the game of the season for SDSU, who found a way to win against the relentless Bulldogs.
The Aztecs registered their 20th regular season win on Senior Night, and likely secured their NCAA Tourney footing.
San Diego, CA – What a game! Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs hosted Justin Hutson’s the Fresno State Bulldogs at Viejas Arena on Thursday, March 3rd in a late evening game that went into double overtime. Despite the Bulldogs’ throwing everything in their arsenal at San Diego State, and despite the lead changing a dizzying number of times, the Aztecs found a way to gut out the W in 2OT with a final score 65-64.
If this game were sponsored by a rock band it would undoubtedly be Tenacious D, because this game was all about elite defense. Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson was Dutcher’s former assistant coach before spreading his wings and leaping out of the nest. He left, and took highly talented Bulldog and former Aztec commit Jordan Campbell with him.
Today, San Diego State and Fresno State are the second and third ranked NCAA defensive leaders respectively.
In addition to SDSU-style defense, Fresno State has many ingredients to emerge as a legitimate offensive powerhouse with TWO seven foot bigs and numerous three-point assassins.
This game could have gone either way, and many Aztecs fans are grateful SDSU escaped victorious.
SDSU had a great chance to win this game in regulation, given they had a three-point lead with just over 20 seconds left on the clock. A comedy of uncharacteristic errors led to Orlando Robinson being double teamed after Fresno State’s time out and an unguarded Isaiah Hill firing off and making a three-point buzzer beater, forcing overtime.
The first overtime play was neck at neck, and with a tied score, once again the Bulldogs had the last shot for the win. Deon Stroud missed a wild last second three point attempt, and the game spilled into double overtime.
At this point both teams were gassed, but the Aztecs appeared more dominant in double overtime, probably due to their deep bench. With a one-point Aztec lead with 11 seconds left, Trey Pulliam was fouled and headed to the line where he MISSED two free throws, giving Fresno State a good look at a win.
The ball was put in Isaiah Hill’s hands again, and instead of sinking a game-winning three, the ball bounced off the rim and over the backboard, and San Diego State players and fans thanked Montezuma for the maddening win.
Not surprisingly, Matt Bradley led the Aztecs with a double double registering 26 points and 10 boards in just under 40 minutes..
Keshad Johnson had nine points and a memorable shot block.
Trey Pulliam also had nine points. Though he uncharacteristically missed his final free throws, it was his clutch mid-range floater that kept the Aztecs in the lead before the Bulldogs forced overtime during regulation play.
Jordan Campbell led Fresno State with 19 points, and Orlando Robinson finished with 17 points in an exhausting 47 minutes.
For Senior Night, five Aztecs participated in the ceremony: Tahirou Diabate, Joshua Tomaic, Trey Pulliam, Aguek Arop and Nathan Mensah.
Earlier this week Matt Bradley and Adam Seiko announced their intentions to stay on the Aztecs for one more year.
Fans chanted “one more year” to Mensah during senior night.
The Aztec Nation congratulates the five seniors honored at tonight’s game, and the San Diego State Aztecs on a hard-fought 20th regular season win.