No. 6 SDSU grounds Falcons in victory

by Agustin Gonzalez

Malcolm Thomas battled double teams all night but came away with eight points and nine rebounds., Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer
Malcolm Thomas battled double teams all night but came away with eight points and nine rebounds., Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer

It wasn’t a 20-point blowout or a highlight-filled shellacking of an 18.5-point underdog, 10-7 Air Force squad. It wasn’t sexy, fun or entertaining. It was just a No. 6-ranked basketball team doing what it was supposed to do.

And with the plodding 68-55 victory against Air Force last night at Viejas Arena, that No. 6-ranked San Diego State men’s basketball team now owns the longest active winning streak in the nation and the best record in the country.

“Honestly,” senior forward Billy White said after the game, “I still can’t believe it.”
Believe it, SDSU. The Aztecs, who admittedly didn’t play their best game, are 20-0.
“We are happy we came away with the win,” senior guard D.J. Gay said. “We should have played a lot better, but it’s a win nonetheless.”

SDSU let the Falcons hang around for most of last night. In the first half, the Aztecs made Air Force forward Tom Fows look like Larry Bird. Fows made five of his seven field goals, including three of his four 3-point attempts, and piled up 16 points in 16 minutes played. Aztec head coach Steve Fisher said after the game the Falcons deserved to be ahead at the half.

But then, with senior forward Malcolm Thomas struggling to find a rhythm down low, Gay stepped up and put his team on his back from the perimeter. In a three-minute stretch to close out the first half, Gay scored eight points and brought his team from down 28-22, to up 34-30 when the clock hit zero.

“They outplayed us in the first half, but we did what we’ve done in a lot of games,” Fisher said. “All of a sudden we’re five points behind and we get the last nine points of the half to go in up four. If you go on who played better, they probably should have been up four. We found a way to get that little spurt at the end.”

That little spurt was all SDSU needed. In the second half, the Aztecs never trailed, but it took them nearly 15 minutes to finally get a double-digit lead that sent the sellout crowd to the exits.

“Nothing is easy in this league,” Fisher said. “Home or away, you have to play. Air Force played and they played very, very hard.”
SDSU now has a full week off before it takes on No. 9 BYU in Provo, Utah, next week. Fisher said the team will not practice today, but will be back in the gym preparing for Jimmer Fredette and the Cougars on Friday.

“I think it will have as much attention nationally as any game we’ve ever played,” Fisher said of the BYU-SDSU matchup. “They’re really, really good.”