Inside, outside, it didn’t matter against ‘dogs

by Staff

It’s all about the inside. Inside scoring. Inside defense. Inside the heart.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team displayed at least one out of three last night. Unfortunately for SDSU, you can’t put heart up on the scoreboard.

Everyone knew the game against Fresno State was going to be difficult without Tye Fields in the middle, but did it have to be that easy for the Bulldogs? Was that really lay-up after lay-up against the Aztecs’ defense?

Unfortunately for SDSU fans, it was harsh reality. Unveiling their new 2-3 zone defense for the first time this season, the Aztecs were simply out-manned and dominated in the paint.

FSU’s 6-foot-8 forward Daymond Forney made like Karl Malone and took advantage of the holes in the defense as he made it look easy scoring from five feet or closer, it seemed, at will. His tag-team partner, forward Danyell Macklin, provided the knockout punch with 10 rebounds.

Asked Bulldogs head coach Jerry Tarkanian: “Macklin had 10 rebounds? He didn’t even rebound like I know he can.”

And it wasn’t as if FSU wasn’t shooting from behind the three-point arc.

Terrance Roberson: five out of seven.

Dominick Young: three out of four.

Kendric Brooks: two out of three.

But how could you expect SDSU to win after adopting a new defensive philosophy and replacing two starters? It didn’t exactly have a couple of McDonald’s All-Americans chomping at the bit on the bench waiting for an opportunity to replace them either.

After such a turbulent week, it was wishful thinking to think the Aztecs would actually win the game against FSU. I mean, look at the facts.

Their only true inside presence, Fields, was suspended for the season. One of their better outside threats, Jacobi Thompson, was also suspended for the season, and they were counting on two walk-ons to make a significant contribution.

But enough of what’s in the past. The Red and Black have to deal with what they have now. And what they need are career performances every game from the new guys who SDSU must depend on heavily if it’s going to the Western Athletic Conference tournament in March.

As head coach Fred Trenkle told his players at halftime when they were getting spanked 46-21, “Let’s decide if we want to be a basketball team or not!”

The Aztecs had enough heart and pride to actually outscore the Bulldogs 50-41 in the second half, but the game was essentially over at halftime. The damage was done. And although each team ripped down 42 boards, all you needed to do was look at who collected them. When guards Chad Nelson, Jason Richey and Will Porter collect 22, you’re in for a long night.

By contrast, FSU forwards accounted for 25 of their team’s rebounds. And before the game, Tarkanian said rebounding was the weakest part of the team.

SDSU fans can only hope their team doesn’t become the remedy for every team’s rebounding deficiencies.

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