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

No. 2 Kansas too much to handle for SDSU men’s basketball, 70-57


For a moment, it was as if the San Diego State faithful inside Viejas Arena were able to forget the tragedies they had laid their eyes upon on their home floor this season.

Senior center Skylar Spencer had just finished a two-handed slam to bring the Aztecs within four of No. 2 University of Kansas with 13:45 left in the game and waving white towels were the only thing one could make out around the raucous, sold-out arena.

It was a fleeting moment, though, as Kansas pulled off an 8-0 run from that point en route to a 70-57 win over the Aztecs Tuesday night at Viejas Arena.

Head coach Steve Fisher had the perfect metaphor to describe the see-saw like second half, which ended with his team suffering its sixth loss of the season, just two less than all of last year’s regular season.

“(Kansas) took a hard hit, took a left hand to the head, but came back themselves with a one-two-three on us ,” he said.

After the left hand punch to the head by Spencer, freshman point guard Jeremy Hemsley had an open look around the rim to bring it to two, but the ball rimmed out and a put-back dunk attempt by senior forward Winston Shepard was also unsuccessful.

“The momentum did swing after that missed layup and if I would’ve made it then I think (the outcome) would have been the other way around,” Hemsley said.

Kansas junior guard, and leading scorer, Wayne Selden Jr. then guided the Jayhawks through an 11-0 run, scoring eight of the points in that span, to finish off the one-two-three combo on the Aztecs.

Selden Jr. did not score a point in the first half after recording two fouls in the first three minutes of the contest.

“That’s college basketball. It’s a game of runs and stuff happens,” redshirt-freshman forward Zylan Cheatham said. “You have to try and play through it and make more plays than the next team. Tonight, Kansas made more plays than us.”

The 14-6 run the Aztecs opened the second half with inspired life to the fans, who probably figured the game was all but over when SDSU trailed 39-27 at the half. After all, the last time SDSU stepped onto the court they lost to Grand Canyon University.

Shepard, who made his first start since the team’s loss to Little Rock, was hitting jumpers and driving the lane like he did in the team’s win against then-No. 14 UC Berkley.

The team moved the ball around and found Spencer for two uncontested dunks in the middle of the lane.

To top it off, redshirt-freshman Zylan Cheatham threw down a windmill slam that might still have the rim on the west side of the court shaking.

The dunk led the crowd into a frenzy  the likes of which haven’t been around in a season the Aztecs have already lost three home games, two more than all of last season.

Cheatham described the energy of the crowd “night and day” from previous games this season.

“It was definitely a tough environment. We knew that coming in,” Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis said.

In the first half it was Ellis who widened the gap for the Jayhawks, scoring 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting including a 2-for-3 clip from behind the arc. He ended the game with a team-high 20 points.

“Ellis definitely came in hot, but that’s just what good players do,” Hemsley said.

Besides the run in the second half, it was the same old story for the Aztecs.

The team shot 35.7 percent from the field in the first half and ended the night at 37 percent.

That wasn’t going to cut it against a Kansas team that entered the game with the No. 3 scoring offense in the country, averaging 89.8 points per game.

Cheatham led the Aztecs with 12 points, as Hemsley was right behind him with 10.

The freshmen duo have been one of the lone bright spots this season. It was the second time this season Cheatham led the team in scoring and it was the 11th time that Hemsley reached double figures.

The Aztecs stay at home as they opens their Mountain West slate against University of Wyoming on Dec. 30.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
No. 2 Kansas too much to handle for SDSU men’s basketball, 70-57