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 continue to roll in conference play, beat San Jose State 77-62

Meghan McCarron

With an El Niño storm passing through San Diego most of Wednesday, the San Diego State basketball made a little rain of its own.

The Aztecs shot 48.1 percent from the field and had three players with at least 17 points en route to taking down San Jose State University 77-62 at Viejas Arena.

A sparse crowd, having to do with the students being on winter break, flooding in certain areas of San Diego and an underdog San Jose team,  had a lot to cheer about as the Aztecs scored in bunches and moved the ball well in the half-court.

As a team, the Aztecs went 6-for-11 from behind the arc in the first half after San Jose State came out in a 2-3 zone and stuck with it for most of the game.

Story continues below advertisement

The Spartans were also shooting  3-pointers well  in the first half and a last-second 3 from senior guard Princeton Onwas made it 37-35 at the midway point.

“We had too many ebbs and flows in the first half and we didn’t guard their two players (freshman forward Ryan Welage and  Onwas), they had every point it seemed like,” head coach Steve Fisher said.

The Spartans would take a 40-39 lead with 18:20 left in the game, but then the Aztecs spun off an 11-0 run to put themselves in the drivers seat.

“I like the way our offense is starting to resemble a Division I offense,” Fisher said.

Freshman point guard Jeremy Hemsley hit two 3-pointers within the team’s first three possessions and was a sparkplug all night, leading the team with 20 points, matching his career high.

He didn’t miss a shot until the 9:33 mark in the second half when he was off on a 3-pointer. The freshman, with a smile, said he had no idea he was perfect at that point.

“When I came early to shoot I felt hot … I was telling all of my teammates I was feeling good and that my shots were going to go up,” he said.

Hemsley has had 14 double-digit scoring performances so far, which leads the team. He has also led the team in points for a game more than any other player .

Besides the high point total, Fisher was pleased with the way he opened the floor up and made the right reads, rather than just putting his head down and driving.

Then there was senior guard Winston Shepard who picked up right where he left off from the team’s win against Utah State, scoring 17 points with five rebounds and six assists.

It was the second straight game he had at least 16 points, five rebounds and five assists.

“That’s what I should be doing,” Shepard said.

“I should be filling the stat sheet, I’ve got great players around me. I should be able to find these guys in their sweet spots.”

Nobody brought the  announced sellout crowd, that didn’t  necessarily look that way, to its feet more than The Animal, redshirt-freshman Zylan Cheatham, who flew high above the rim for two alley-oop finishes in the first half.

Cheatham finished with a career high 17 points, aided by a 7-for-9 mark from the free-throw line.

The man who delivered the passes on the alley-oops, Shepard, didn’t necessarily think those were the best plays of the night, though.

“That’s just the one you guys will remember,” he said.

He credited baseline passes to senior center Skylar Spencer and kick-out passes to Hemsley and sophomore guard Trey Kell as the real plays that got the offense going.

On a night when the team seemed to right some of its shooting wrongs, sophomore forward Malik Pope looked like he was on the precipice of turning the corner from his early struggles.

Pope hit a 3-pointer and scored seven points in nine minutes in the first half, but did not score in limited action in the second half.

Fisher said he played a little more “smart-aggressive,” but wasn’t delighted with his free-throw shooting (2-for-6).

SDSU now moves to 3-0 to open up its Mountain West play and it’s the first time the team has done that in nine seasons.

The team has a lot of work to do in conference after suffering six non-conference losses.

“Sometimes things don’t always start out how you want them to, but that doesn’t mean we should throw the season in the tank,” Shepard said.

The Aztecs’ next game is on Jan. 13 against Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztecs continue to roll in conference play, beat San Jose State 77-62