Notebook: Winston Shepard and Skylar Spencer stand alone at the top of the mountain

by Ryan Posner, Sports Editor

San Diego State men’s basketball has been to six straight NCAA tournaments and has won nine Mountain West championships, but two players stand alone at the top of the mountain in school history.

With the team’s win over Utah State on Saturday, senior center Skylar Spencer and senior forward Winston Shepard passed former point guard D.J. Gay with the most MW wins in school history with 46.

“It’s a good feeling.  That’s what I came here for, to win games,” Spencer said. “The record speaks for itself. I’ve just been handling business since I’ve got here.”

Head coach Steve Fisher used the words of Aztec alum and former NFL head coach Herm Edwards to describe the importance of the record.

“You play to win the game, as somebody once said.”

The duo, who arrived on campus for the 2012-13 season, have an identical record of 46-16 in MW play over their careers.

SDSU’s 7-0 start in MW play (second-best start in school history) helped accelerate the process of the two grabbing the record.

Shepard has been a key cog in the team’s historical conference start. He came into Saturday’s game averaging 13.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and three assists in conference and he finished the afternoon with four points, four rebounds and five assists.

Shrigley makes his debut

For the first time in the 2015-16 season, the Viejas Arena PA announcer called out a name that has been missed in the Aztec lineup: reshirt-junior forward Matt Shrigley.

Shrigley received a warm welcome from the fans as he played for nine minutes in his debut.

“I love Matt Shrigley,” Fisher said. “He, from the moment he had the surgery, was committed to doing whatever he could to get himself ready to play.”

Fisher said he does not know what Shrigley’s playing time will look like, but said he has never used a 10-man rotation and Shrigley’s return adds to what has been a nine-man rotation this season.

Someone who had an up-close and personal look at the rehab process was his roommate and close friend Spencer.

“I know what he goes through, I know how hard he was working in the summer time,” Spencer said. “Man, it means everything to us (to have him back), I know it means the world to him.”

Unsurprisingly, Shrigley was a little rusty and missed all three of his shot attempts, all 3-pointers.

Fans wanted to see Shrigley score so bad they began chanting his name in the final seconds of the game, but they will have to wait until at least next Tuesday against University of Nevada to see that happen.

“I’m just here to do anything the team needs help with,” Shrigley said.

Chol has a career day

Not be forgotten in the hype of the team’s win was the play of senior center Angelo Chol, who set his career-high with 12 points Saturday and also set a career-high with nine rebounds.

Also impressive was that he was able to set both career-highs in just 17 minutes on the floor.

“Angelo had his best game as an Aztec,” Fisher said. “For those of you who say we don’t have a center who can score, now we got two centers who can score.”

He was especially effective on the offensive glass, grabbing a team-high five offensive rebounds, which also tied for the game-high.

Fisher described Chol’s plays as “smart-aggressive,” which helped him fill up his stat sheet.


“He’s the magic man, Matt gave us a little luck,” Spencer said with a smile referring to the team’s win correlating with Shrigley’s return.