San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

SDSU takes care of business against the Spartans with a 78-52 victory

Caleb St. Clair
Trey Pulliam (4) drives to the basket against the San Jose Spartans.

There was never much doubt as to who would win between San Diego State (18-7, 10-4 Mountain West Conference) and San Jose State (8-20, 1-15 MWC).

One team is fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament and the other… well, maybe they were just fighting for pride.

Combine that with the fact that six Spartan players — including two starters — had been scratched before the game and you end up with quite the lopsided result. More specifically, a lopsided 78-52 beatdown in favor of the Scarlet and Black.

Besides, SDSU has bigger fish to fry. Next up on the agenda are the Wyoming Cowboys (22-5, 11-3 MWC), a team that is sitting pretty at second place in the Mountain West. For how long remains to be seen, as the Cowboys have lost two of their last three games, including a 61-55 loss to Colorado State on Wednesday, Feb 23.

SDSU was supposed to face Wyoming on Jan. 12 but a COVID-19 concern with Wyoming put a pause on that. Now, however, a face-off with potential March Madness implications will be going down in Laramie. 

But before the Aztecs have a staredown with the Cowboys, they had to deal with a platoon of Spartans at Viejas Arena. After scoring just 20 points in the first half against Boise State, the Aztecs came out in this first half with guns blazing.

SDSU dropped 36 points and shot 46.9 percent from the field in the first half. Sophomore Chad Baker-Mazara had the highlight of the first half — or more specifically, highlights. Plural.

Nearly six minutes into the half, Baker-Mazara hit a pull-up jump shot for two points. Mere seconds later, redshirt freshman Shon Robinson fumbled the ball and Baker-Mazara was on him for the steal. One flushed dunk later and the Duquesne transfer was basking in The Show’s adoration.

He still wasn’t done as, after all of that, he sunk a corner three to put SDSU up by nine. 

“He’s not quitting on plays. If he makes a mistake, he tries to fight back and fix it,” head coach Brian Dutcher said on Baker-Mazara. “If they play hard they’re gonna have an opportunity to play here… he still makes mistakes but he makes up for it with effort.”

Baker-Mazara was one of four Aztecs to score double-digit points, finishing his night with 16 points. After an off-day against the Broncos, senior Matt Bradley had 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, junior Keshad Johnson had 14 points and had another slam dunks while senior Trey Pulliam finished with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, his highest since his 11 point performance against UNLV on Jan. 24.

“With the minutes that we’re playing, we’re gonna get open shots,” Pulliam said. “We’ve been playing better offensively and moving the ball. I mean, the shots have been coming for me without me having to go out of my way to create for myself so I have been trying to take advantage of shots like that.”

SDSU poured it on the second half, raining down shot after shot. The most memorable one, however, came in the final two minutes.

With the Aztecs up big, Dutcher sent in his walk-ons to get some minutes. The scrappy walk-ons played hard defense and were able to get in some shots at the basket. It was sophomore Cade Alger who got the loudest pop from the crowd with his two-point jumper rattling into the basket with 47 seconds left on the clock.

“They’re (walk-ons) good. Good players,” Dutcher said. “They get out there, they practice and they go to work every day… I’m so proud of them and how they play and how they represent themselves, the program and our university.

Business was taken care of as it very well should have but SDSU is on the final leg of the race. The Scarlet and Black have three games in the next six games and the first one starts at over 7,200 feet in enemy territory. 

About the Contributor
Jason Freund, Sports Editor
Jason Freund is a journalism major from Santee, Calif. He hopes to become a sports journalist for a Major League Baseball team or a reporter for another major sport. In his free time, Jason enjoys listening to music, going to the gym and watching baseball. Jason began writing for The Daily Aztec in October 2019 and also writes for the East Village Times. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonfreund_.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
SDSU takes care of business against the Spartans with a 78-52 victory