Viejas Arena- San Diego, California
Welcome to the Mitchell and Mensah show. Matt Mitchell II and Nathan Mensah combined for 36 points and 17 rebounds on route to an Aztec win. Mitchell’s 20 point and 10 rebounds performance were good enough for his second career double-double.
Unlike the games against Colorado State, this matchup didn’t see any massive runs by either side. The 7-point lead that the Aztecs had on a few occasions marked the largest margin all game.
One of the biggest advantages for the Aztecs was their control of the paint. As a team, they scored 26 points in the paint and had a +4-rebound advantage against Nevada. Despite Mitchell’s ability to hit from deep, he only made one three-pointer all game. In the paint, he was explosive and expertly used his spin move to get enough space to get off a shot. When he couldn’t make the shot, he managed to draw a foul.
Nevada’s starters combined for 17 fouls. SDSU made them pay whenever they got to the charity stripe. They were 19-22 from the free throw, and only three players got to the line all game. Trey Pulliam was 2-2, Mitchell 9-10, and Mensah 8-10. If Mensah can continue to make quality free throws, that adds another element to an already dominant force in the paint.
The three-pointer wasn’t much of a weapon for the Aztecs as it usually it. In a lot of their games, they constantly move the ball around until the defense leaves someone alone on the perimeter. This game looked a lot different. Jordan Schakel was the only player with multiple three-pointers made this game. The Aztecs finished the game with a season-low in assist. Coach Brian Dutcher didn’t mind the assist in the game. He credited his players with producing based on how Nevada was setting up their defense.
In this game, Pulliam stepped up as the high-scoring guard. His 10 points are more than all the other guards combined. Terrel Gomez was held silent this game going 0-5 even with some pretty open looks that he would usually make. Adam Seiko appears to have earned a starting job after starting the last three games. He, too, was pretty quiet for the game. He shot 1-2 from deep and recorded two rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes of play.
This was one of the first back and forth games that SDSU had all season. When asked about it, Dutcher said, “That we got timely stops down the stretch. And the difference in Colorado State and this one is, if Jordan (Schakel) misses that big shot, who knows how the game turns out”.
The shot that he is referring to was one of the two three-pointers Schakel made all game. Nevada had taken the lead with just over two minutes left in the game. He hit a clutch three-pointer to give the Aztecs a lead that they would be able to hold onto for the win.