San Diego State Men’s basketball team journeys to Nevada to take on the Wolf Pack on Saturday, February 29, at 5:30 p.m. for their final game on their regular season schedule.
On Tuesday night, San Diego State beat Colorado State in a highly competitive battle that wasn’t decided until the game’s final minute.
The Aztecs struggled to score throughout the game and relied on their defense and free-throw shooting to pull out the nations leading 27th victory. To slow down the Aztecs’ potent offense, opposing defenses are double-teaming Malachi Flynn, forcing Yanni Wetzell into foul trouble, and limiting SDSU’s easy baskets. The Rams held Flynn to only two points in the first half and led the Aztecs after twenty minutes of play.
SDSU turned up the intensity on defense and held the Rams to only 24 points in the second half. Jordan Schakel put San Diego State ahead two minutes into the half with a clutch three-pointer from the baseline that ignited Viejas Arena. With the roar of the sold-out crowd behind them, San Diego State clawed their way to a 66-60 win over Colorado State.
Flynn spoke to the media at the end of the game about what inspired his team’s turn around in the second half, “As a group, we didn’t want to lose. We didn’t want to lose two in a row, so we just buckled down on the defensive end and started getting stops, and people made shots,” said Flynn.
The Aztecs now head to Reno for their regular-season finale against the Nevada Wolfpack.
Nevada has a six-game winning streak and has only lost two games at home this season. Those losses came against USC and Utah, the latter being whom the Aztecs beat earlier in the season on December 21. The Wolfpack is currently tied in second place with Utah State with a 12-5 record. With the Mountain West tournament scheduled for next week, Nevada is in a tight battle for the conference’s second seed, and SDSU stands in their way.
When San Diego State hosted Nevada earlier in the season, the Aztecs beat the Wolfpack 68-55. Wetzell earned a double-double with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Nevada’s Jalen Harris led all scorers with 19 points, including five three-pointers. Like in many of their previous games this season, the Aztecs separated themselves from the Wolfpack with their tenacity on defense and their tendency to contest almost all of their opponent’s possessions on offense.
After losing to SDSU at Viejas Arena on January 18, Nevada’s coach Steve Alford talked to media about the impact that San Diego State’s defense had on his team’s performance, “I thought that we guarded well in the first half and we got some good shots, we made seven threes in the first half, and then the second half was like five of thirty-four, so they stepped up their defense, and we’re a couple of guys shy of scorers, you know, and I think that affects us, especially in games like this,” said Alford.
Both teams want to head into the conference tournament on a positive note, and they will fight each other for that privilege on Saturday night on ESPN 2.