Thomas & Mack Center- Las Vegas, Nevada
The victory today earned the first back-to-back regular-season titles for SDSU.
It’s no surprise that two seniors, Jordan Schakel and Matt Mitchell II, lead the way. This is likely their final regular-season games. The two each put-up double-digit points and a lot of quality minutes.
Mitchell had 19 points on five field goals, two of which were from beyond the arc. Those two 3-pointers make for his first multi 3-pointer game in over a month. In fact, he was on a very cold streak shooting 1-for-11 in the five previous games. It’s a nice addition to his game but isn’t where he is the biggest threat. His size and speed near the paint are what make him a deadly scorer. That too was on display with a few spin moves that lead to the defense fouling him. He went to the free-throw line nine times and made seven of them.
Schakel finished the game a rebound shy of first career double-double. He had 16 points with the bulk of the points coming from his four made 3-pointers. This was a classic game for Schakel, the defense gave him space and he made them pay. The high rebound numbers are nice to see. This game brought his average rebounds per game to 4.2 it’s a nice addition, but not mandatory to provide value to the Aztecs. His only problem all game was the fouls. Thankfully, three of them came in the second half when SDSU had a large lead and could afford to bench him.
The final player to highlight is Nathan Mensah. He had seemingly fallen off after a very dominate first half of the season. At his peak in the first half he was averaging 10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds. Those numbers have now dropped to 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. While those numbers aren’t bad, everyone knows he has more in him. This game hopefully was an indication that he returned to that better form in time for tournament season. He had 14 points, six rebounds, a block, and this highlight dunk.
Does. Not. Get. Old. pic.twitter.com/VvrS04ZI84
— San Diego State Men's Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) March 4, 2021
In the final seconds of the game Mensah got a bit greedy and tried for a off the backboard alley oop to Jordan Schakel that got on the nerves of coach Brian Dutcher. “I’ve got all this grey hair because my center decides to throw a pass off the backboard to my shooting guard at the end of the game. They stress me to no end sometimes”, said Dutcher after the game.
With this victory the #19 ranked Aztecs should be a lock for the NCAA tournament no matter how they do in the Mountain West Conference Championship. The team is on an 11 game win-streak that could be 13 depending on how you view the two New Mexico forfeits. They will have a first round bye and will play the winner of the San Jose State vs Wyoming game.