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

San Diego State men’s basketball leaves Fresno with a 45-43 win in a dominant defensive game from both teams

Both Mountain West teams scored their season lows as they shot below 32% from the field
Senior+forward+Nathan+Mensah+punches+home+a+dunk+versus+UNLV+on+Feb.+11%2C+2023.+
Noelani Sapla
Senior forward Nathan Mensah punches home a dunk versus UNLV on Feb. 11, 2023.

It was by no means pretty for the Aztecs in their road victory over Fresno State but a win is a win. San Diego State came into the game on a three-game win streak holding sole possession of the Mountain West Conference and now are one step closer from securing the one seed. 

SDSU improved to 21-5 and 12-2 in the Mountain West after its ugly win against Fresno as the bigs led the way for the Aztecs. Senior forwards Keshad Johnson and Nathan Mensah each dominated the glass for SDSU. Johnson had seven points and nine boards while Mensah had eight points and eight boards. Senior guard Matt Bradley was the Aztecs only player in double figures with 10 points. 

SDSU held the Bulldogs to just 30.9% from the field however only shot 32.7% themselves. It was a struggle all night for both teams yet SDSU did find some success from behind the arc shooting 5-11. The Bulldogs struggled going 2-25 from 3-point land shooting a brutal 8%.

The Aztecs started off strong as Johnson got SDSU on the board first. Bradley followed up with a 3-pointer of his own to give his team an early five-point lead. This would be the largest lead of the half for either team as each went back and forth trading baskets.

Midway through the first half, the Bulldogs took their first lead of the contest 10-9 after a turnover from Johnson. SDSU quickly regained the lead off a made jumper from Mensah.

The two Mountain West rivals traded baskets in the next nine straight successful possessions until the Bulldogs slightly pulled away, leading 25-20 with just over 90 seconds remaining in the half. 

A 3-pointer from junior guard Micah Parrish pulled the Aztecs back within two and sent them into the locker room down 25-23 at halftime. 

“We did a good job at staying in a two-point game when we had seven turnovers, and gave a lot of second chance opportunities,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “They should have had a bigger lead than two points. They let us stay too close to them at halftime.”

The second half was no better than the first for either side, but SDSU got going first as junior guard Lamont Butler tied the game up with a layup. 

Fresno State scored just four points over the next 10 minutes of play as SDSU held a 33-29 lead just under the halfway point of the second half. 

Over the next three minutes, the Aztecs finally found some offensive rhythm as Bradley hit his second 3-pointer of the night to give SDSU its largest lead of the game 40-33. 

However, the Bulldogs responded strongly, scoring eight straight to regain the lead by one with just under five minutes to go. 

When it came to crunch time, SDSU’s free throw shooting hurt them as they finished the game 3-7 from the line in the closing minutes and allowed Fresno State the chance to stay in the game. SDSU shot just 8-16 from the free throw line in the game, a very uncharacteristic mark as they shoot over 72% as a team.

SDSU’s defense held up strong to close out Fresno State late and steal a road win 45-43. 

“Sometimes offense is just not there but the beauty of San Diego State University basketball is we are able to get the wins when the offense is not going great,” Johnson said. “Defense travels and that’s what gets the win on the road.” 

The Aztecs host Colorado State at Viejas Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 21 as they continue to wrap up conference play before the Mountain West tournament in early March.

About the Contributor
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
San Diego State men’s basketball leaves Fresno with a 45-43 win in a dominant defensive game from both teams