SDSU basketball notebook: Skylar Spencer on a level of his own

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SDSU basketball notebook: Skylar Spencer on a level of his own

by Ryan Posner, Sports Editor

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LAS VEGAS — Since Steve Fisher became San Diego State men’s basketball’s head coach, winning games and titles has not been too uncommon.

But after 17 seasons with the team, one player stands alone as the winningest player in his tenure and school history.

With SDSU’s 67-55 win over University of Nevada Friday night in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals, senior forward Skylar Spencer became the winningest player in school history with 106 wins, passing former point guard D.J. Gay.

“I came here to win games and that’s what I’ve been doing,” Spencer said. “I’ve had the pleasure of playing on some great teams over the past four years, and we just have been (taking care of) business.”

Spencer, a two-time MW Defensive Player of the Year and the school’s all-time blocks leader, has been a constant in the Aztec lineup.

In his four years with the team he hasn’t missed a game, and besides a brief stint on the bench this season, he’s been a regular in the starting lineup.

At SDSU, Spencer has been to three NCAA tournaments and one Sweet 16, and with a win tomorrow afternoon in the MW Tournament final, he will add a conference tournament championship to that list.

“I’ve done everything else, records and all that stuff … I still have (that) to cross off my list, so that’s my motivation,” he said.

Earlier in the season he also became the winningest player in MW history, along with senior forward Winston Shepard.

Spencer’s stats Friday — zero points, three rebounds and also fouling out — were not eye-popping, but he was tasked with guarding Nevada’s top player, freshman forward Cameron Oliver.

That kind of unselfish play has been a key in him recording the record amount of wins.

“All he cares about is winning,” Fisher said.

Kell battling at less than 100 percent

A quick look at sophomore guard Trey Kell on the bench during the first half of Friday’s game told people all they needed to know.

He sat with his head down, a cold rag over his neck and played in three- to four-minute spurts.

He was sick.

But, after receiving an IV at halftime, according to Fisher, he trotted out of the tunnel, took a bandage off his right arm and went to work.

“Once I saw him taking the bandages off I knew it was over,” junior guard Dakari Allen said.

Allen was right.

Kell went on to score 13 of his 15  points in the second half to help seal the victory.

It was the second straight game Kell carried the team in the second half. In Thursday’s win over Utah State he had 15 points to close out the game.

“I just felt kind of sluggish, not feeling so well,” Kell said. “Then a little bit before halftime came I went back to the locker room, met with the doctor and then came back and I felt a little bit better. So then I was able to play like myself.”

Kell said if it was a regular season game he may have played less minutes, but said he would have attempted to try and play no matter what game it was.

Fisher reassured that he had many watchful eyes on the team’s leading scorer in conference play.

“We would never, ever jeopardize his health,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a doctor with us on the trip. Tom Abdenour is the best trainer on the planet. And they’ve done a great job with him.”

Aztecs’ length gives Nevada fits

It’s no secret, but sometimes it’s worth repeating: The Aztecs are the tallest and most athletic team in the MW.

Nevada found out just what that length and athleticism could do.

The Aztecs forced 20 turnovers and turned those turnovers into 24 points.

“We just really didn’t take care of the ball,” said Cameron Oliver, the MW media’s Freshman of the Year selection.

Nevada was also dealing with the fact that its leading scorer, senior guard Marqueze Coleman, had a foot injury and got into foul trouble.

“We had no legs. We ran out of gas … I think we had a lot of uncharacteristic mental mistakes,” Nevada head coach Eric Musselman said.

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