“Aztecs–March Madness Arrives”
San Diego State met its match and lost, beaten at its own game, by Boise State, in the Mountain West Conference championship game.
The Broncos grinded their way to the win to take their first ever MWC banner, using their defense to grind out the (53-52) win, in a game that went to the final possession in the final second.
The Aztecs had a half minute to run the right play, got two close in looks at the final game winning shot and failed, because of a Boise defense that was relentless all afternoon long. Bodies and hands on everyone-everywhere.
it went on all day long, two teams suffocating the other guy with an in-your-face defensive pressure that never let up. San Diego State shot 28%-in the opening half, and had scoreless droughts of 4:01 and 5:21, Boise shot only 34% in the back and forth battle.
Good looks for open shots were so tough to get. In the second half, Boise had 5-straight defensive stops , forcing the Aztecs to run the shot clock down and making them force hard to get shots. It was no place for the timid.
I wondered throughout the game, which would take effect first, all the fouls the Aztecs would commit or the fatigue they piled up with their 3rd game in 3-nights in Las Vegas.
The bigs beat on each other the entire game. They presented a huge challenge for the officials, what to call, what to let go. A guard might break the pressure, but a second layer of defense awaited, and the contact on the way to the basket was rugged.
It was not pretty ever. By halftime the two teams combined for 12-turnovers, 13-missed free throws, a combined 23-fouls. it might have been ugly, but it was the vintage style we have expected to see between the first and second place teams, who got there because they sand-blast you when you have the ball.
How bad was it. Leading scorer Matt Bradley was shutout in the first half. Boise’s top gun, Abu Kigab had just 2-shots in 17-minutes.
The SDSU bench, which scored 27-in the Friday win over Fresno, staggered. The combo of Adam Seiko, Josh Tomiac, Chad Baker-Mazara, Tia Diabete and Keshad Johnson went a combined (1-14).
it was fierce contact on the way to the basket, or to fight thru screens There were even 10-second violations. . And at the end, final possession, final failure, because Boise did what SDSU has done all year long,
You can’t call State a fraud of a 23-win team because they just don’t score, though it is surprising with so many veterans on this team, fourth, fifth year players, they still cannot put the ball in the hole.
I didn’t major in engineering in college, but I know rectangular bricks don’t go thru cylinder hoops very often.
It has to be a huge disappointment for Brian Dutcher, the inability to score consistently with so much experience on the floor. The improvement at the offensive end has been negligible.
Yes they are going to March Madness, and they will play Big East runner up Creighton next week in the opening round in Ft Worth. The Blue Jays run up tempo, score alot, and have a push the pace personality. This might be 1-and-done at SDSU just because when they have the ball, they struggle with pressure.
The rule book says ‘No Cheering in the Press Box’. Saturday was the first time in a long time I actually yelled at the TV in frustration that San Diego State did not win a game with the ball in their hands. I guess I would have felt better if it was Boise on the final possession against the SDSU cement tough defense.
I barked at the TV because I wanted a good group of student athletes to do well. They have so many classy kids on that SDSU roster. They work so hard and play so hard , and are relentless at their craft.
March Madness and San Diego State go hand in hand. But going farther than the first game may be a challenge., because we saw what the Aztecs play like when they play someone like themselves. Boise State proved that.