Viejas Arena- San Diego, California
The Aztecs in the last four games are a lean-mean-scoring machine. This is their second time reaching 98 points in this stretch.
This offensive explosion comes on the back of SDSU’s depth and versatility. In this matchup, four different players reached double digit in points for SDSU. Matt Mitchell II led the group with 26, then Keshad Johnson with 15, Lamont Butler 11, and Jordan Schakel at 10. Johnson led the group off the bench that outscored Wyoming’s bench 50-26.
Mitchell was recently nominated for the Julius Erving Award, and this was a perfect game to show voters his skill. In the last two games, his minutes have been monitored after returning from his knee injury. In this game, coach Brian Dutcher let him off the leash, and Mitchell went wild. His 26 points are the third highest point total of his career. He shot 9-16FG, 4-7 3FG, and 4-4 FT. On top of that, he had five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
After the game, Mitchell was asked about his reaction to the nomination. In classic Matt Mitchell fashion, he talked about his desire to win games. He hopes that his play on the court will impress the voters, but the priority is to win games.
This was a huge game for Johnson. He went beyond the arc twice on route to scoring a career-high 15 points. He also had five rebounds, two assists, and no turnovers this game. While his stats are good this game, his best ability in this game was availability. The 22 minutes played marks another high for the season. This season he was unavailable to play against ASU due to COVID contact tracing concerns. Then against Colorado State, he fell hard on his shoulder when going up for a dunk. That again kept him out of the game while he recovered. Hopefully, he remains healthy and can get the playing time to fine tune his multiple talents.
After the game, Keshad had some kind words on the support his teammates have given him, “Every game we have a team of very unselfish people. So, it’s like unlimited encouragement everywhere. Regardless of if I was playing good from the start or anything, they are always telling me next play keep going hard”.
As mentioned, early Johnson wasn’t the only threat off the bench. Butler continued his hot streak by scoring 11 and only had one turnover. That one turnover is a huge improvement and credit to his passing and ball handling abilities. However, the freshman found himself fouling out. As he continues to grow as a player, he will fix one issue, and another will pop up. He should continue to refine his game, and these mistakes will occur less often as he grows.
Speaking of players making the most of their recent playing, Joshua Tomiać deserves some credit. In this series against Wyoming, he has earned the recent increase in minutes. Today he succeeded in draw fouls and getting to the line. Once he was at the line, he shot a solid 6-7. In the last two games, he has eight points and has been a good backup to Mensah.