1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Monday “Aztecs Basketball-A Historical Step”
You can put San Diego State’s name right up there on the scoreboard with the greatest moment in sports history in America’s Finest City.
The Aztecs are going to the Final 4-of the NCAA-Tournament surviving 39:59 of a War of Attrition, in beating Creighton on Sunday in NCAA tourney play.
The SDSU accomplishment now rankeds right up there Steve Garvey’s home run that got the Padres to the World Series in 1984.
It’s equal to the Dennis Gibson’s last second, 4th down pass deflection in the Chargers AFC-championship game win in Pittsburgh in 1995.
It was a heart stopping win for SDSU.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Creighton.
It was a Darrion Trammell free throw with (:01) left that capped a furious (57-56) SDSU victory.
Oh the debate will rage all week about the final seconds of the game.
Was Trammell actually fouled on his final drive to the basket with (:03) left?
Was the Jays inbounds passer stepping on the end line when he made his throw?
Did the length of the court final pass get tipped out of bounds and by who?
Did the clock run out on the final length of the court pass?
Let the talk show debates begin in Omaha and San Diego.
It was a ‘War of Attrition’, just typical the way Brian Dutcher’s team plays.
It was ugly, it was a win, and it took till the final second to determine the survivor.
The mood swings in the arena went all over the place.
The Aztecs struggled with Creighton’s big men in the first half.
The Jays guards got penetration into the paint and made shots the first half.
SDSU was frozen trying to defend pick and roll plays that first half.
San Diego ramped up its defense to start the second half, and they finished Creigthon off late with a series of big boy defensive plays.
Heroes? Check off a bunch of boxes.
Nathan Mensah helped wipe out an 8 point deficit to start the second half, with a mid range jumper, a blocked shot and a huge rebound.
Then Keshad Johnson and AG Aroup combined for 4-baskets either on short hook shots in the paint, or jumpers right low on the block.
Then Mensah came back to make 3-more big plays in the final (:90) seconds that kept the Jays from taking back the lead at the end of regulation.
Oh it was not easy, and yet it was typical hammer and tong basketball for large chunks of the game.
SDSU survived a siege of 1-basket in 12-minutes when they shot (2-for-17).
State survived a horrid in bounds pass t0 Adam Seiko that turned into a Creighton game tying basket at 56-56.
SDSU let the Jays shoot 54% from the floor in the opening half, and out rebound them in the opening 20-minutes. Things we never ever see.
And it was the undecided outcome to the final second free throw and the time expiring instant replay video.
When it was over, the final stat sheet looked like most of the others this season. Crehgton shot just 30$ in the second half. Goodbye lead, goodbye game. SDSU shot just 38$, a typical bad day at the office.
The Jays were a God-awful (2-17) on 3’s, that equates to 11% from the arc. Of course State was (3-13) shooting long range, pretty substandard.
But it was the State defense, wave after wave of it and the depth that was the difference at the end The Blue Jays looked gassed in the second half and it showed down the stretch.
So they are (31-6) and heading to Houston. No one could have thought this possible 24-years ago when Steve Fisher and Brian Dutcher arrived and endured an (0-14) conference season.
The Aztxecs are about to take the next step, next Saturday against Florida Atlantic.
They are right where the Padres were at their biggest moment, and where the Chargers were at 3-Rivers Stadium. The others got there but did not get it done in the World Series or the Super Bowl.
The Aztecs now have a chance to do something different, come Final 4-weekend.