Viejas Arena- San Diego, California
The Aztecs brought their win streak to six with a sweep over San Jose State on Wednesday night. After a dominant 30-point victory in the first game, the Aztecs got off to a slower start in the second game.
To their credit, San Jose State came in with a new gameplan, and it was starting to work. In the first game, SDSU dominated the rebounds and hardly turned over the ball. This changed with the two teams having nearly even rebounds after the first period. Then SDSU gave up four turnovers in the first period; they only gave up five in the entire first game in total.
San Jose State put pressure on SDSU’s shooters. All the contested shots and bad looks forced SDSU to have a 36.4 field goal percentage and 20 three-point percentage in the first period.
Going into the half, the Aztecs only had a six-point lead. The second half fared a lot better, and that showed as they increased their lead to 22 points by the end of the game. All shooting percentages rose to 40% or higher. SDSU fixed their gaps from the first period. They had a +5-rebounding advantage and limited their turnovers to just two in the second period.
When people look back at this season and win streak, in particular, they are going to remember Jordan Schakel playing some of the best basketball in his career. For the first time in his career, he scored 20+ points in back-to-back games. His second-half performance took the game out of contention. In the second half made 17 points coming from five three-pointers. He also managed to stay out of foul trouble after quickly fouling twice in the first period.
“I did start cold after making a three-pointer to start the game. After the game, Shackel said, “you have to have confidence to play this game.” That confidence led to another game as the top scorer.
The next highlight player was Terrell Gomez.
The narrative with Gomez is that he is a three-point threat and not much else. In this game, he worked on disproving that stigma. He only made two 3-pointers yet scored 13 points in this game. On numerous occasions, he would drive and actually shoot the ball instead of dishing it out. That did lead to him being blocked once, but it also accounted for 10 of his points. He continued to surprise the viewers at home today when he actually missed a free throw. Last season he made an amazing 109 of his 115 free throws. This season he has only attempted eight free throws.
“I saw gaps, I try to drive as much as I can. And find shooters when the defense stops me. I saw I got to the line, I just want to stay in attack mode and try get downhill and take open shots,” Butler said after the game.
SDSU once again will have a long break before their next game. On February 18th, the Aztecs will travel to take on Fresno State.