SDSU vs. Nevada Recap: Wolf Pack’s Late Rally Falls Short Against Aztecs
The Wolf Pack battled the Aztecs but came up just short in their regular season finale.
The regular season concludes with a loss.
In the last regular season contest for both San Diego State and Nevada, the Aztecs squeaked past the Wolf Pack, 79-78.
San Diego State and Nevada both started slowly in this game. Nevada would see an early 6-4 lead nearly five minutes into the contest. The Wolf Pack’s lead would slowly grow to five following a Warren Washington layup with nine minutes left in the first half. Matt Bradley was fouled on a three-point shot with six minutes left in the half, allowing the Aztecs to take a one-point lead. The contest would once again be tied with one minute left in the half thanks to a Sherfield 3-points. Lamont Butler was able to score two quick buckets for the Aztecs before the halftime buzzer sounded. San Diego State led 36-33 going into the locker room for halftime.
Keshad Johnson and Nathan Mensah were both able to score coming out of halftime, giving the Aztecs an early seven-point lead. Trey Pulliam would extend the lead to nine and would force a Nevada timeout with 17 minutes still left in the game. Nevada would fall into a deep scoring slump, allowing the Aztecs to go on a 17-6 run over a six-minute span. This would give San Diego State a 59-41 lead with 12 minutes left in the contest. This was the moment Nevada decided to start fighting. The Wolf Pack started pressing the Aztecs, forcing turnovers which made things interesting late in the contest. Following a Sherfield jumper, Nevada was able to cut the lead to single digits with five minutes left in the game. The Aztecs coughed the ball up four times in the final three minutes, giving Nevada the final shot. Grant Sherfield took the final shot, but couldn’t find the bottom of the net. San Diego State was able to hang on, 79-78.
While San Diego State’s defense struggled in this contest, the Aztecs can thank their defense for the final stand, stopping Gran Sherfield’s final attempt. Ultimately, San Diego State can hang their hat on their shooting from the field. The Aztecs finished shooting a very impressive 53%. San Diego State also shot 35% from the arc in what would be an impressive showing offensively from the Aztecs. Despite turning the ball over 19 times, leading in fouls, and losing the rebound battle, the Aztecs were able to make stops when needed, to hang on to this game.
The Aztecs were led by Matt Bradley who finished with 24 points but got some help with three other San Diego State players finishing in double-digit scoring. Trey Pulliam finished with 12 points on 50% from the field. Lamont Butler and Keshad Johnson had good games, finishing with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Nevada just couldn’t find the right recipe defensively. It is incredibly hard to win a game when letting San Diego State shot over 50% from the field in both halves. Grant Sherfield played amazing, scoring 30 points on 9-19 shooting, but just couldn’t get enough help to propel Nevada past the Aztecs. Desmond Cambridge Jr. finished with 12 points on 25% shooting from the field. Cambridge Jr. did his part on defense, getting four steals and one block. Warren Washington and Will Baker were the two other Wolf Pack players to score in double digits, both finishing with 11. Washington was able to grab 10 rebounds as well, finishing with an impressive double-double.
The Wolf Pack as a whole shot 37% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. Nevada just didn’t have enough firepower to get past the Aztecs. The Wolf Pack were able to grab 36 rebounds and got to the free-throw line 30 times. In the end, Nevada allowed San Diego State to get too many easy buckets, which allowed the Aztecs to jump to such an impressive lead in the second half. Nevada struggled to fight back to one but should have never let the Aztecs get an 18 point lead to begin with.
While every part of me wants to make the Most Valuable Player in this contest Grant Sherfield, who finished with 30 points and seven assists, it feels strange giving the award to someone on the losing team. Therefore, the award has to go to San Diego State’s Matt Bradley, who played a more than an impressive game. Bradley finished with a team-leading 24 points on 6-10 shooting. The 6’4 guard also made it to the free-throw line 12 times, knocking down 11 of them. Bradley was able to grab six rebounds tying the team-high.
San Diego State finished the regular season 21-7, 13-4 in conference play and is the third seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The Aztec’s first game is Thursday, March 10, when San Diego State plays the winner of Fresno State and San Jose State’s contest on Wednesday, March 9. Nevada finished the regular season 12-17, 6-12 in conference play and is the eighth seed in the conference tournament. The Wolf Pack faces New Mexico Wednesday, March 9.