SDSU basketball notebook: Three Aztecs named to All-MW Tournament team

by Anthony Reclusado, Assistant Sports Editor

LAS VEGAS — Senior forward Winston Shepard, sophomore forward Malik Pope and sophomore guard Trey Kell were named to the All-Mountain West Tournament team by the MW media.

Shepard averaged 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and four assists during the Aztecs’ run through the tournament.

He shot 43 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free-throw line.

Pope was a first-half threat for the Aztecs all tournament long, posting 10 points in the first 20 minutes of the quarterfinal, eight points in the semifinal and 12 points in the final. Pope would have his most complete game in the championship game and record a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

A more odd stat was Pope opening the Aztec scoring in all three games with a 3-pointer.

On the flip side, Kell would come alive in the second half for SDSU. He started each opening frame with two points and would explode in the final 20 minutes of play.

He tallied 15 second-half points against the Aggies and dropped 13 on Nevada to help secure the win.

Throughout the tournament Kell was battling an illness and had to receive an IV in the Aztecs’ first two match-ups.

Head coach Steve Fisher said postgame that he believed that Kell was drained from the previous two days, as he finished with three points in the second half against Fresno State.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride

For the third straight year and for the fourth time in the last five years, the San Diego State men’s basketball team lost in the MW championship game. This year it was the Fresno State Bulldogs who were too much down the stretch and were able to capture their first MW Tournament title, 68-63.

Last year it was University of Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr. and Josh Adams, who stripped the Aztecs of a tournament title in a low-scoring battle, 45-43.

The year prior it was the grizzly combination of Cameron Bairstow, Alex Kirk and the University of New Mexico Lobos that was too much for SDSU to overcome.

The last time the Aztecs were able to lift the tournament hardware was in 2011, when Kawhi Leonard and Billy White donned the red and black against BYU.

Shrigley a no-show

For the first time since his return from an ACL injury against Utah State on Jan. 23, redshirt-junior guard Matt Shrigley didn’t play.

After the game Fisher said in hindsight that he wish he would have played Shrigley.

In his absence the Aztecs were only 3 of 13 from 3-point range and were outscored 30-9 by the Bulldogs from beyond the arc. Only Malik Pope was able to hit from deep. He finished 3 for 4 from long range.