The Aztecs defeat Saint Katherine 83-41.
SDSU was happy to get a matchup after Colorado State postponed the games that were going to take place on the third and fifth. Saint Katherine was able to play tonight, and Pepperdine will fill in on the sixth.
Finishing a game with double the opponent’s score shows little competition in the game. More than anything, this was an opportunity for the bench players to play their way into more minutes. Coach Brian Dutcher did spread out the playing time more than usual and used 15 different players in the game.
Terrell Gomez made his first start and led the team with 23 minutes played. Coming into this week, fellow writer Paul Garrison had questioned if Gomez would find his place on the team this week. Today certainly indicated that he is starting to be more comfortable as an Aztec. His quick release three-point shot connected three times. Gomez also helped get three rebounds despite one of the smallest players on the court.
When asked about how he fits in with the team, Gomez said, “When I first got here I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I kinda wanted to fit in, I was passing up a lot of open shots. Definitely now I’m looking for my shot more”. He mentioned that he came to SDSU to be apart of their system, which includes good defense and ball movement. If Aguek Arop’s hand is still injured, Gomez may get the starting nod again later in the week.
For a game that should have been decided before tipoff, the Aztec starting five did not look that good out of the gate. After five minutes of play, Matt Mitchell had committed two fouls, and when SDSU found themselves down 5-4, Dutcher made an early platoon swap to see if the bench could fare any better. That seemed to be the needed change as the Aztecs never lost the lead once the bench regained it. That charge off the bench was led by last game’s highlight player Keshad Johnson and freshman upcoming Keith Dinwiddie Jr.
Dinwiddie Jr. made the strongest case for more minutes after his performance tonight. Dutcher has described Dinwiddie Jr as a “scorer deluxe,” and score he did. He went 4-8 from deep this game with one rebound. The only thing holding him back is he needs to be the complete package. He has the tools to grow into a very complete player while at SDSU.
After the game, Dutcher had some high praise for his freshman. He said, “Keith is making steps forward every day in practice and on the game floor, and I think we are starting to see some of that.” Dutcher also talked about how he expects all his players to play great defense, and then they will find their spot of offense. Dinwiddie Jr seemed to put it together this game and may have earned more minutes.
After the rocky start, the Aztecs went on a 19-0 streak over 5 minutes. In this time, Jordan Schakel started to torment Saint Katherine. He contributed seven points in the scoreless streak, five of which came from free throws. This is one of the highlights to look for as he becomes more than a one-dimensional scorer. He shot 4-8 in field goal attempts this game, three of which were three-point shots. That wouldn’t surprise many fans from last season. What has changed is his confidence driving to the net and forcing fouls to get him to the free-throw line. This, along with his improved defense, makes him a well-rounded player that could receive some notice from NBA scouts.
What is notable is the lack of playing time for Matt Mitchell II created for himself. The reigning Mountain West player of the week found himself in foul trouble early and on the bench more than normal. His four offensive fouls caused him to play just 18 minutes of the game. To his credit, he made the absolute most of those minutes despite the fouls. He still recorded ten points, four rebounds, three assists, and one block and steal.
All in all, SDSU fans should enjoy their free Soapy Joe’s car wash for holding their opponent to under 60 points. Now they will look toward Friday when Pepperdine should serve as a more challenging opponent.
Last Minute Thoughts
- Joshua Tomiac played 18 minutes. In that time, he recorded 6 rebounds, one steal, and never attempted a shot.
- Lamont Butler, another freshman, went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
- Nathan Mensah and Keshad Johnson each scored nine points and tallied seven and five rebounds, respectively.
- Pulliam was held to just six points but still managed to dish out four assists