Aztecs dominate CSU 78-65, in bounce-back game

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Viejas Arena- San Diego, California

When the San Diego State Aztecs faced the Colorado State Rams on Saturday, the Aztecs blew a 26-point lead, the largest blown lead in Mountain West Conference history.

The Aztecs were up 26 at half against the Rams Monday, and while the Rams made it somewhat close at points, SDSU ran away late in their 78-65 victory.

Jordan Schakel surrendered multiple baskets in the closing minutes of the loss on Saturday, including three when he committed his fifth foul on John Tonje when Tonje made the game-tying three-pointer and the free throw to give CSU the lead.

In Monday’s contest, Schakel set a career-high in three-pointers with eight and points with 28. The senior showed a ton of maturity in rebounding from his tough ending on Saturday, which is something that SDSU head coach Brian Dutcher preached after the loss on Saturday.

Aguek Arop, who did not play on Saturday, returned to the floor on Monday after battling with stomach issues that are not COVID-19 related. Unfortunately for him, he felt under the weather and left the game Monday.

For the third straight game, San Diego State led by over 20 in the first half. A plethora of three-pointers, turnovers, and missed shots from the Rams contributed to the big lead.

However, the Aztecs did not allow the Rams to go on a 19-0 run to close out the first half as they did on Saturday, which included a seven-minute scoring drought. Instead, the Aztecs answered the buckets from Colorado State and reached the rare 50 point plateau. They led at halftime 50-24.

In the second half, Colorado State slowly chipped away at the lead and got it down to 14 multiple times mid-way through the half. Thankfully, Schakel seemed to make all of his shots in the second half at the right time to fend off a Rams comeback.

Schakel was not the only Aztec to dominate on Monday. Nathan Mensah owned the paint and took advantage of a small Colorado State team. He grabbed rebounds and blocked three shots in his 11 point night in just 24 minutes.

Terrell Gomez is starting to find his feet for San Diego State. Gomez reached double figures in points in both games, with 13 on Monday to go with four assists.

Matt Mitchell also reached double figures with 12 points in a much more limited role than normal, being in foul trouble for the majority of the second half.

San Diego State will now travel to Reno, where they will face the Nevada Wolfpack twice, on Thursday and Saturday.

Nevada is off to a solid 8-3 start, with a 3-1 record in the early part of Mountain West Conference play. The Wolfpack picked up solid wins over North Dakota State, Nebraska and two wins at New Mexico.

Tip-off for Thursday’s game is at 7:00 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

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