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

Aztecs round up the Cowboys, move into tie for second place with 73-66 win

Noelani Sapla
Senior Matt Bradley shoots over an Air Force player during SDSU’s 76-64 victory on Feb. 12.

Coming into Monday night’s game, the Wyoming Cowboys (23-6, 12-4 Mountain West Conference) were undefeated at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. So feared is their home arena that it has been dubbed “The Dome of Doom.”

San Diego State (19-7, 11-4 MWC) was undaunted in the “Dome of Doom.” By the looks of it, the Aztecs looked comfortable at 7,200 feet in elevation. 

For what is a dome full of Cowboys when a team regularly plays in front of a student section that can match and even surpass entire arenas in volume by themselves?

After Monday night’s game, Wyoming now has to put a “1” in their home win-loss record as SDSU — led by senior Matt Bradley’s career-high 30-point performance — sent the Cowboys running back to the stables with a 73-66 victory.

“It was hard-fought. This is a hard place to play. Altitude, they have a great environment, they are well-coached, their players play hard, they play the right way,” head coach Brian Dutcher said to “It was just a hard-fought Mountain West game, just like they all are.”

A road win over the Cowboys is just what the Aztecs needed to get them off the NCAA Tournament bubble and into an at-large bid for the big dance. SDSU fields an impressive resume with victories over the Pac-12’s Arizona State and West Coast Conference’s Saint Mary’s, who are currently ranked No. 19 by the Associated Press and just defeated No. 1 Gonzaga.

More importantly, it puts SDSU in a virtual tie for second place in the Mountain West with Wyoming and Colorado State, meaning that — should the season end today — the Aztecs would receive the No. 2 seed in the Mountain West Tournament and would face either the No. 7 seed or the No. 10 seed.

Of course, it wasn’t all Bradley’s doing that got the Aztecs the victory, despite the guard dropping 20 points in the first half and making five 3-pointers (including two long-range Curry-esque shots).

No, it was senior Trey Pulliam who pulled (no pun intended) his team ahead in the crucial final moments of the game.

The Cowboys had shaved an 11-point SDSU lead to just a single point with a little over two minutes to spare in the game. Senior Nathan Mensah sank two free throws to extend the lead to three but senior Aguek Arop’s foul put sophomore Jeremiah Oden on the line, who also sank both of his free throws as well.

Then came Pulliam, who had been on a two-month skid and had been struggling to generate offense. With minutes to spare, Pulliam knocked back two jump shots in the paint to pad SDSU’s lead to five. Two more free throws by Mensah were enough to ice the game for SDSU.

“Just like last year, Trey Pulliam was making big plays down the stretch. All of these games, Trey’s playing better and better. That is what he did last year,” Dutcher said. “ If you have any kind of memory at all you know that he carried us at the end of last year. He played a really solid game and hit really meaningful shots.” 

Pulliam’s 14 points were the second-highest total on the team but the rest of the team struggled as a whole. After lighting up ten threes in the first half, SDSU only made two in the second half. Sophomore Chad Baker-Mazara — who had been shooting the lights out recently — went cold and didn’t make a single point.

The bench as a whole made 11 points as Dutcher relied mostly on his starters throughout the game, a tough ask of any team even when they aren’t playing in elevation.

Not even a triple-double from Wyoming senior Hunter Maldanado (13 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds) could help the Cowboys come out on top as SDSU’s defense held the team as a whole to 39.7% field goal shooting.

However, there is no rest for the wicked as SDSU has a quick turnaround match against Fresno State at Viejas Arena on Thursday.

“I am proud of our team and proud of our effort. We will enjoy this on the flight back but we play Thursday and play Saturday so no rest,” Dutcher said. “We have to get back to work tomorrow.” 

About the Contributors
Jason Freund
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_.
Noelani Sapla
Noelani Sapla, Staff Photographer, '21-22 Photo Editor
Born and raised in San Diego, Noelani is a graduate student at San Diego State University working towards a masters degree in education. She joined the Daily Aztec staff as the photo editor for the 2021-2022 year, and is currently a staff photographer. She credits the Daily Aztec for the experience and opportunities to cover the NCAA tournament in Houston where the men's basketball team played in the national championship game. While having a degree in education and teaching, Noelani's dream is to become a professional sports photographer.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztecs round up the Cowboys, move into tie for second place with 73-66 win