Aztecs take down Cowboys with 84-54 victory


Kareem Jones

Sophomore guard Jordan Schakel runs the ball up the court during the Aztecs 84-54 victory over Wyoming on Jan. 8 at Viejas Arena.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

San Diego State men’s basketball cruised to a 84-54 victory over the visiting University of Wyoming on Tuesday night at Viejas Arena.

SDSU (9-6, 1-1) never trailed, led by 23 points at halftime and by as many as 30 points after the break during a wire-to-wire victory over the Cowboys (4-12, 0-3).

“I thought the guys really made a step forward today,” head coach Brian Dutcher said.

The victory was the Aztecs’ first in Mountain West Conference play and was in heavy contrast to the team’s first conference game, a 24 point drubbing against Boise State only three days prior.

“When we got back from Boise, we landed at noon, we were on the court by one and we went hard,” Dutcher said. “The kind of practice you have when you get beat by 24 points.”

The practice appeared to pay off, as SDSU finished with four players in double figures, including a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore forward Jalen McDaniels.

McDaniels nearly had a double-double by the intermission and was joined in double figures by sophomore forward Matt Mitchell (20 points, five rebounds), sophomore guard Jordan Schakel (14 points, seven rebounds) and senior guard Devin Watson (12 points, eight assists).

Watson, the Aztecs’ leading scorer coming into the game, did not score his first bucket until less than eight minutes were left in the first half, but his two three-pointers to start the second half were part of a 9-0 run as SDSU increased its lead to 57-28 with 17:26 to play.

“I was just trying to facilitate, get my teammates involved, and those two shots, they were just open so have to take those,” Watson said.

The Aztecs had just-about cleared the bench with 4:20 left, after Watson was subbed out, leaving only freshman forward Nathan Mensah as the lone starter remaining on the court.

Mensah made the first start of his SDSU career tonight, after senior guard Jeremy Hemsley was scratched from the game with flu-like symptoms, and finished with four points and six rebounds in 25 minutes before fouling out with under two minutes to play.

The Aztecs finished 52 percent from the field, held the Cowboys to just 35 percent and outrebounded the Cowboys 40-to-24.

SDSU controlled both the boards and behind the arc in the first half, out-rebounding the Cowboys 21-8 while shooting a red-hot 60 percent from three-point land to go into the break with a 48-25 lead.  

The Aztecs finished with 12 three-pointers on the night, nine of which came during the first half.

“Guys were just feeling it,” Watson said. “At shoot around guys were focused and dialed in, so I think that carried over into the game.”

Sophomore forward Matt Mitchell hit all four of his three-point attempts in the game, all coming during the opening period.

The Aztecs jumped out to a 14-2 lead to start, and led by as many as 24 points after a foul on a McDaniels layup resulted in a three-point play with just under a minute to play in the half.

McDaniels went into the break with a team-high 13 points and eight rebounds.

Wyoming was held to 36 percent in the opening period, connecting on only nine of 25 shot attempts.

Senior guard Justin James led Wyoming on offense with 18 points and six rebounds.

Next up for the Aztecs is a visit to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force on Jan. 12.