Fans storm the court following Aztecs’ 65-57 victory over No. 6 Nevada


Abraham Jewett

Fans stormed the court following the Aztecs 65-57 victory over No. 6 Nevada on Feb. 20 at Viejas Arena.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

The last time San Diego State men’s basketball faced Nevada they were eliminating the Wolf Pack from the 2018 Mountain West Conference Tournament.

There was no championship game birth on the line this time, but same result, as the Aztecs defeated No. 6 Nevada, 65-57, in front of a raucous crowd of 12,414 at Viejas Arena on Wednesday night.

Oh, and there was a little bit of court storming after, too.

“It’s amazing,” senior guard Devin Watson said. “It’ll probably hit me when I get back to the room.”

The victory ended a 10-game win streak for Nevada (24-2, 11-2 MW) and gave SDSU (17-9, 9-4 MW)  its seventh win in its past eight games.

“I think we treated the crowd to an old fashioned Aztec win,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “We’re hard to beat in this building.”

The Aztecs never trailed in the second half and led by as many as 16 points to hand-deliver the Wolf Pack their second conference loss.

“The kids were excited, obviously, but I said stay humble,” Dutcher said. “This is the first of hopefully three times that we are going to play (Nevada) this year.”

SDSU had a 10-point lead with two minutes to play, before Nevada made one final push; getting as close as 60-55 with 42 seconds left after a free throw by senior forward Trey Porter.

Senior guard Jeremy Hemsley, who a possession earlier had played to run out clock, did not waste any time on the other end, going up for a layup to give the Aztecs a seven point lead, effectively icing the game.

Hemsley, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds, said it was surreal to be on the court during such a big game.

“Games like that you dream up as a kid. Just watching on TV. It’s just crazy even being out there,” he said.

Senior guard Jeremy Hemsley runs up the court during the Aztecs’ 65-57 victory over Nevada on Feb. 20 at Viejas Arena. Photo by Cassidy Gonzalez

Hemsley was joined in double figures by Watson (15 points, eight assists, five rebounds) and sophomore forward Jalen McDaniels, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half.

Chants of “overrated” rained down at the Wolf Pack from the rafters of Viejas Arena as early as with 14-minutes left on the clock, and continued in spurts throughout the second half.

It was that kind of night for Nevada, which shot only 33 percent from the field and trailed for over 30 minutes, at one point failing to score a point for more than five minutes while the Aztecs built a game-high 16-point lead in the second half.

Hemsley said the team never doubted their ability to get the win, despite their opponents high ranking and near-perfect record.

“We expect to win every game we play, we didn’t come in expecting to lose or for us to not play how we’ve been playing,” he said. “That’s a good team man, they’ve got some dogs over there. That’s a good win for sure.”

On defense, the Aztecs were able to limit Jordan Caroline to a season-low eight points, the first time all year the senior forward, averaging 18 points a game, failed to reach double-digits.

“We couldn’t do any better job on (Caroline),” Dutcher said. “We’re really excited about our defense.”

Senior forward Caleb Martin led the Wolf Pack in scoring with 20 points, 17 of which came in the second half after he played only 11 minutes in the first, due to foul trouble. 

Defense appeared to be the name of the game in the opening period, with the Aztecs scoring 17 points off 10 Wolf pack turnovers en route to a 30-21 halftime lead.

SDSU only led 12-11 through nearly 12 minutes of action, as both teams hung around 30 percent shooting from the field.

The Aztecs were able to pull away later in the half, however, following an 8-0 run, and pushed their lead to double digits for the first time after a layup by freshman forward Aguek Arop gave them a 28-18 advantage with just under three minutes to play.

Next up for SDSU is a trip to Las Vegas to take on UNLV on Feb. 23 at the Thomas and Mack Center.

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