Aztecs win 10th straight versus Spartans in 72-51 victory
After an 85-75 victory over the Utah State Aggies three nights ago, the Aztecs took on the San Jose State Spartans for the first time this season and hoped to stay in first place in the Mountain West Conference.
The Red and Black led the all-time series 45-35 coming into the game against the Spartans, with the team currently on a nine-game winning streak versus SJSU.
The last time the two teams played was on February 25, 2022, in Viejas Arena, when the Aztecs won 77-52 behind four players in double-digits scoring and Chad Baker-Mazara leading the way with 16 points in 22 minutes played off the bench.
SDSU was looking to not only continue their winning streak against the Spartans but their three-game winning streak they’re riding currently, in which they are 44% from the field and 41% beyond the arc the last three games.
The Aztecs continued both winning streaks and secured a 72-51 win behind 32 points in the paint and good defending to jump to a 17-4 overall record and 8-1 in the conference.
[wpedon id=”49075″ align=”right”]
Matt Bradley got the game started with a lay-up which he was fouled on. He put in the free throw to complete the three-point play and the game was off and running.
Both teams were keeping the game within reach until the first TV timeout at the 14:38 mark, in which the Aztecs had six points in the paint and shot 36% from the field during that time, as the Red and Black led 9-7.
The Aztecs would continue to stay in front, but when they hit the 7:36 mark, SDSU started to create separation from the Spartans. They scored eight straight points in a span of 2:40 to take a 24-13 lead, which electrified the crowd through the run.
The Red and Black continued to dominate, especially Keshad Johnson, who at the 1:49 mark got set up by Micah Parrish for a dunk and got his 10th point of the game erupting Viejas Arena. The Aztecs led 29-14 and forced SJSU to take a timeout to try and cut SDSU’s momentum.
After Bradley put in a jumper 44 seconds later, the Spartans failed to keep control of the ball, and Darrion Trammell stole the ball, took it into the offensive zone, gave it to Johnson, and he went to the rim to dunk it. SDSU led 33-14 to end the half.
Although the Aztecs were without a three-pointer in the first half, they led with 24 points in the paint to the Spartans’ six.
Johnson led the way for the Red and Black with 12 points, going six for eight from the field and capturing six rebounds (five defensive and one offensive).
No Spartan had more than five points as the team shot 20.8% from the field in the first 20 minutes.
The Spartans struggled with ball control in the first half and committed 10 turnovers that the Aztecs capitalized on for 10 points. SDSU only had one turnover.
Lamont Butler started the second half by assisting Nathan Mensah on a dunk as points in the paint continued to be the key area of success for the Aztecs.
At the 17:18 mark of the second half, Bradley put in the first three-pointer for SDSU to take a commanding 40-16 lead.
After the 15:46 mark, the Red and Black let their foot off the gas, and the Spartans went on a 9-0 run before Trammell buried a three to end it. The Aztecs led 49-38.
SJSU would then go on a 12-4 run after Trammell’s three until Johnson knocked down a jumper at the 9:32 mark. The score was 55-39 SDSU.
The Spartans were slowly crawling back and were down 11 at the 5:31 mark but started to foul, and the Aztecs capitalized with four free throws and then some.
After the 5:31 mark, SDSU went on a 13-0 run, allowed three points after, secured a 72-51 victory and their 10th straight victory against SJSU.
“Another good home victory,” head coach Brian Dutcher said postgame. “We are playing together more. I think it was a really solid performance.”
The Aztecs’ three turnovers were the fewest turnovers committed against a Division 1 opponent since the start of the Mountain West era, as ball control was very efficient and crucial to the win.
“We’ve done a great job of taking care of the ball,” Dutcher said postgame. “That’s had a lot to do with our success at the offensive end.”
The Red and Black won in the paint with 32 points to the Spartans’ 24 but were outrebounded 36 to 34.
SDSU limited SJSU to 34.7% from the field and 21.1% beyond the arc.
Johnson led the team with 16 points, shooting seven for ten from the field and capturing eight rebounds, while Bradley was right behind him with 14 points and shooting five for 13 from the field.
“Working is going to automatically pay off sooner or later,” Johnson said postgame on his recent success. “It’s all about energy and effort.”
The Spartans picked up their scoring in the second half, led by Robert Vaihola with 12 points off the bench and Omari Moore with 11.
The Aztecs head back on the road for one game in Reno, Nev., to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack, their second meeting this season, at 8 PM PST on Tuesday, January 31st.
Adam is a senior at San Diego State University studying journalism & media studies. He is a huge sports fanatic who was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. His favorite sports teams are the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Padres, Toronto Raptors, and San Diego Wave FC. He also writes and reports for The Daily Aztec. When he graduates, he wants to become a sports writer or reporter for a news organization or TV station.