The Daily Aztec

Winston Shepard records SDSU men’s basketball’s first triple-double in 79-55 win over IPFW in NIT

by Anthony Reclusado, Assistant Sports Editor

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There is a reason mastodons went extinct.

They were large lumbering animals and couldn’t outrun their greatest nemesis: humans.

While that occurred roughly 10,000 years ago, the 8,324 fans in Viejas Arena received a full reenactment on Tuesday night.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team swarmed and in quick, efficient runs were able to put down Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, 79-55.

Senior guard Winston Shepard would pace the Aztecs all night and found himself atop the mountain as he recorded the first triple-double in SDSU history. He ended the night with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists.

The coaching staff allowed Shepard to go for the record as he was the only starter in the game in the waning minutes with the outcome not in question.

“I left Winston in because I knew he was close to a triple-double and that’s not my style to try to do things for personal recognition, but I think he deserved the opportunity,” head coach Steve Fisher said.

As the possibility of him recording the triple-double became a reality “The Show” would scream out the remaining stats he needed.

Once he recorded his 10th rebound, the crowd would erupt in a Shepard chant and give him a standing ovation as time expired.

“It was nice to have everybody cheering for me,” Shepard said.

Outside of Shepard’s triple-double, the match itself was and old-fashioned beat down.

“They smoked us like a salmon,” IPFW head coach Jon Coffman said. “I can’t believe there is 68 teams better than that.”

There was a balance early in the match as the Mastodon’s senior guard Max Landis drew first blood with a 3-pointer. However, just like in their three matches in the Mountain West Tournament, sophomore forward Malik Pope opened the Aztec scoring with a 3 of his own.

After some early jockeying between the teams, the Aztecs smelled blood in the air and began to feast on the clearly outmatched Mastodons from Indiana.

Redshirt-junior Matt Shrigley, who did not play against Fresno State in the Mountain West Tournament championship game, began a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer and sophomore guard Trey Kell capped it off with an emphatic dunk.

IPFW could do little to make up ground before another SDSU wave came crashing down.

Kell would hit consecutive 3-balls, Shepard found junior guard Dakari Allen for two easy layups and freshman guard Jeremy Hemsley hit a 3-pointer to stretch the Aztec lead to 36-15.

The Mastodons ended the first half with 22 points while shooting 27.6 percent from the field. Coming into the game, they averaged 80.2 points per game.

Shepard would end the half on a triple-double watch as he tallied four points, four rebounds and eight assists (already a career high).

“When you get a big lead, like we got tonight, I think that helps you relax a little bit and helps you play more freely and confidently,” Fisher said. “You feel good when you see that separation.”

That separation only grew in the second half, as SDSU got into a comfort zone and pulled further away and continued to rack up highlight dunks and blocks in the process.

However, the Mastodon’s redshirt guard John Konchar did everything in his power to keep his team in it. He pulled down over half of his team’s rebounds with 18, six offensive, and threw in 10 points and four assists while at it.

IPFW’s leading scorer Max Landis would be held in check throughout the game and shot 5 for 15 from the field for 14 points and a game-high six turnovers.

“Max Landis has been literally unstoppable for us this year … and they made him inefficient,” Coffman said.

Pope would end the night with 15 points, eight rebounds and zero turnovers.

The win places senior forward Skylar Spencer on his own mountain as he became the winningest player in MW history with 107 wins. He already passed D.J. Gay for the most wins in program history earlier this year.

The Aztecs will host University of Washington on Monday at 8:30 p.m.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Winston Shepard records SDSU men’s basketball’s first triple-double in 79-55 win over IPFW in NIT”

  1. sdhomer on March 16th, 2016 1:39 am

    Finally Aztecs play loose and up to their potential.sad the committee did not see the immense talent on this team.i love coach fisher ,we are forever indebted san diego state basketballfans,but it’s crazy how ALL his teams can’t shoot.i refuse to believe that these prolific high school scorers All struggle in college.His teams seem to play tight and never seem to put a team away(last few minutes they have occasionally )They stand around and seem to be lost on offense.it is at its most obvious when they have a lead ,they settle.zero cutting,low picks ,inside out,driving and kicking..nothing..like 90 percent of time.chol and Spencer should have played together more often and pope was handled like coach really wants to keep him for another year.listen ..bring in a long time professional offensive coach and get it fixed.we can seriously win a national title (could of been this year with decent seed,field is average..pac 12 seven teams really?Oregon got beat by Boise state didn’t they?Indiana got beat by unlv didn’t they ,cal by state,right?how weak do think our division is. When the beat a 1 seed ,a two high seeds ?we had two young guards either sick or healing in that Fresno state game and we definitely past the eye test if anyone watched the game (sure not one of the committee members did ).if anything they simply did not want us in there for whatever reason.suggetion next year coach fish..play two squads slightly uneven minutes and create a fight to get on the second unit by the bench.promote when necessary. .but by all means play fast..play up tempo at let your long lengthy athletes play like they know how. your defense will let you separate by much larger margin with more shot attempts.its math.. Tell them to play as fast as possible and when they are tired switch em.you relied way to much on Kell to handle the ball,should of brought shrigley in to replace him.two previous games had taken there toll on him.even fresh he is not a good ball handler.he did come along way and is great player in his own right.pope must be your guy next year.no more doghouse treatment.get the kid some consistent minutes please.!! Let’s do this! Go Aztecs..go win our first n.i.t. this and ncaa next.shepard..much respect for your growth as a player and leader…peace

  2. John Alano-SDSU Class of 1997 on March 16th, 2016 6:40 am

    The NCAA Selection Committee was 200 percent wrong in its decision to not give us an at large bid. They obviously don’t appreciate or observe the eye test like coaches and players after a tough game against our Aztecs. We’ll go deep into the NIT and quite possibly win. Not to wish ill will against any NCAA Tourney teams who made it, but let’s just say a few of those guys will demonstrate exactly why they don’t deserve to be there in place of SDSU. Syracuse? Vanderbilt? Wichita State? Tulsa? SDSU will limit those guys to 55 points on any given day. Go ask Cal what happened to them.

  3. Cynthia Collins on March 16th, 2016 7:54 am

    No matter what people say in the stands, Winston, you are a leader by never giving up and playing aggressively. And always acknowledging God for the privilege of playing-that shows character. Congratulations to you and Spencer for your accomplishments!

    We love you guys! I’m sure we had the most fans present at any of the NIT games-the SHOW was loud and proud! Let’s keep it all going-and fill the arena with more people on Monday night!!! Go Aztecs!

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