Dee Glen Smith Spectrum- Logan, Utah
Everyone circled this game as the biggest one left on the Aztecs’ schedule- a game that they were supposed to lose.
However, it seems that someone forgot to tell Coach Brian Dutcher and his San Diego State squad as the short-handed Aztecs beat the Aggies 77-68.
San Diego State came into the game missing starting center Nathan Mensah, who has been dealing with a respiratory issue, for the second straight game. To make his loss even more worrisome was that the reigning league defensive player of the year, Neemias Queta, was back for the Aggies. It seemed the stars had aligned for the Aztecs’ first loss.
In the first half, the Aztecs came out strong, scoring from a variety of spots on the court.
Utah State hung in, thereby drawing several fouls, forcing the Aztecs leading scorer, Malachi Flynn, to the bench with three first-half fouls. Without Flynn, San Diego State kept their solid play going behind Matt Mitchell and Trey Pulliam, who combined for 14 of the Aztecs 34 points.
After the break, the Aztecs stayed hot, extending their lead up to 16 much of the same way they had done in the first half. But halfway through the second, the Aggies went on a run behind Sam Merrill, who had been quiet for most of the first half, and Neemias Queta. But this Aztec team is resilient and refused to give up the lead. Every time the Aggies cut the lead to seven, the Aztecs hit a big shot to extend the lead.
— Aztec M. Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) January 5, 2020
Merrill led the Aggies, and all scorers, with 26 points, while Queta recorded a double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds). No other Aggie was in double figures, although Abel Porter played well and ended up with nine.
San Diego State had four players in double-figure scoring. Flynn led the way with 22 points, including a perfect 10-10 from the line. Mitchell followed up with 19 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Schakel had 11 points and shot 3-4 from beyond the arc, including the dagger with less than two minutes to go. Yanni Wetzell scored 10 points and had five rebounds.