Staples Center, Los Angeles
The San Diego State Aztecs took down the Utah Utes to earn their twelfth win on the season to remain undefeated.
The Aztecs beat the Pac 12 team by the score of 80-52 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as part of the Hall of Fame Classic. The SDSU fan base, also known as “The Show,” took over the Staples Center and inspired the Men of Montezuma to take down Utah, who had just beat 6th-ranked Kentucky in their previous matchup.
The Aztecs opened the game with a planned play that set up an assist from Malachi Flynn to Yanni Wetzell down low for an emphatic dunk. That set the tone for the contest. SDSU’s hard-nosed defense and calculated execution on offense overwhelmed their opponent once again. The Utes could 0nly score 19 first-half points against the Aztecs which paled in comparison to the 35 first-half points they scored against Kentucky. SDSU’s domination of another Pac-12 team is proof that the gap between the Mountain West Conference and the once-respected, Pac-12 Conference has been turned upside down.
The Aztecs came into Los Angeles hungry to continue their winning streak and assert their authority over the west coast.
Earlier in the week, SDSU dismantled San Diego Christian 92-48 in a game that graduate-transfer Yanni Wetzell posted up 17 points. Wetzell, a New Zealand native, continues to gain confidence on the hardwood and is growing into a well-rounded basketball player that is quickly becoming a cornerstone of the undefeated Aztecs. After beating San Diego Christian, SDSU watched Utah beat Kentucky and prepared to face them three days later.
San Diego beat Utah by a demoralizing twenty-eight point margin and sent a strong message to all the NCAA analysts that act as if they have never heard of SDSU men’s basketball.
Flynn is leading the team with a quiet, methodical, and unrelenting confidence that’s reminiscent of Aztecs’ basketball legend Kawhi Leonard, a member of the team that led San Diego State to its best season in school history. Flynn led SDSU with 16 points in their defeat of Utah. Wetzell and Mensah both posted 14 points, and their imposing presence in the key smothered the Utah big men.
The Utes didn’t have any answers for the Aztecs’ offense and trailed San Diego the entire game. With about ten minutes left in the game, the Aztecs leading 52-35, Utah was waving the white flag and subbed out their key starters. SDSU’s “The Show” was showering their twentieth ranked Aztecs with unignorably intimidating “S D-S U” chants.
The young Runnin Utes looked around the arena in amazement as the Mountain West’s San Diego State squashed their hopes of being ranked after the previous victory over sixth-ranked Kentucky. Aztecs’ substitute Caleb Giordano metaphorically supplanted the victory flag with an NBA-range three-pointer. Giordano pushed San Diego’s lead to 74-49 and sent Utah home to reevaluate their notion of where the true powerful teams stood on the college basketball landscape. San Diego State displayed its certifiable supremacy and easily cruised to 80-52 victory over the University of Utah to give all the fans of San Diego another reason to celebrate during the holiday season.
The city of San Diego should be proud of the SDSU Aztecs’ Men’s basketball team. Their string of signature non-conference wins is something for America’s Finest City to be excited about. Coach Dutcher spoke about his team’s ability to disappoint their opponents. “This is a defensive-minded team, and if we continue to do that, I want to say we will find a way to score enough points to win as long as our defensive rebounding stays where it is… I’m just proud of how hard our guys played,” Dutcher said after the game. Come spring, when analysts are making their selections for the NCAA championship tournament, these non-conference wins will help San Diego to make the dance and hopefully a high seed.
On December 28th, the undefeated Aztecs will host Cal Poly to close out their 2019 non-conference schedule.
Cal Poly is 2-10 on their season and comes into San Diego hoping to gear up for play in the Big West Conference. The 12-0 Aztecs will host the Mustangs (4 pm) at Viejas Arena.