Bulldog Arena- Fresno, California
The Aztecs stayed hot as they collected their 8th straight win in a row as they beat Fresno State 75-57.
This game, the shots were falling like crazy for SDSU. They finished the game with a 61.0 FG%, 66.7 3PT%, and 70.8 FT%.
Jordan Schakel, Matt Mitchell II, and Terrell Gomez all had double-digit points. Their bench outscored Fresno’s bench 24 to 19. Keshad Johnson and Lamont Butler led the bench with seven and six points.
Schakel was absolutely on fire this game. His only miss of the day was the single free throw that he attempted. He was 4-for-4 from deep and one inside of the arc to lead the team with 14 points. On top of his scoring, he corralled eight rebounds, had two steals, and no fouls. This resulted in one of the cleanest games for Schakel and an excellent game to show NBA scouts.
He only shot when he had a quality look, he only had one foul, and he was aggressive on the boards. His advantage this game was his quick release. On a few of his shots, he had a super small gap to shoot before the shot is seriously contested. If his shot is any slower, then it is a block for Bulldogs.
Coach Dutcher tested Mitchell’s health and his endurance this game. Despite having a double-digit lead for the entire second half, Mitchell was on the court for 17 minutes that half and for 35 minutes of the 40-minute game. He is coming off the hyperextended knee and, up until the first Fresno game, had a knee brace on.
March Madness is coming up fast, and SDSU is pretty much a lock for a tournament spot. Mitchell will be heavily relied on and will need to be in the game as much as possible. This is likely the reason Dutcher had him out there so long despite not needing him on the court.
In the game, Mitchell 13 points, with five rebounds and three steals. Early in the game, he did receive a flop warning which really set off coach Dutcher. Replays showed that Mitchell was hit and likely sold the hit just a little bit too much for the referees liking.
Keshad Johnson’s game is important for what he did in the limited minutes that he had. He only played in 12 minutes but made the most of it. He had a huge highlight block and later on had a great dunk. Most likely, Aguek Arop’s return is cutting into his minutes total. They tend to fill a similar role on the team, so it’s tough to get both of them a lot of minutes.
This game was the perfect showing of the Aztec’s depth. Both Deon Stroud and Orlando Robinson scored more points than any Aztec, with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Where SDSU won the game was the quality shots taken and the ability of the bench to hold the leads. This is necessary when the MWC and NCAA tournaments come up. A lot of games will be played in a short period of time. Players will get tired and sloppy. These two strong points should help keep players refreshed and in the habit of not settling for poor looks.
SDSU will return to Viejas Arena to play Boise State in what could be their final two games of the regular season.