San Diego State’s Trey Pulliam shoots against Colorado State on Jan. 8, 2022 at Viejas Arena in San Diego. (Photo: Derrick Tuskan/San Diego State)
San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher was impressed by his Aztecs last week.
“That was a heck of a performance by the Aztecs this afternoon,” said Dutcher after San Diego State’s 79-49 victory over the previously unbeaten Colorado State Rams on Saturday. “We guarded at a high level, we rebounded at a high level and then we got guys that played the right way. It was just a great all-around game.”
The one-sided victory at home at Viejas Arena allowed the Aztecs (10-3, 2-0) to replace the Rams (11-1, 1-1) at the top of the Nevada Appeal Mountain West basketball rankings.
“We let them affect our intensity and our physicality and that just kind of overwhelmed us,” Colorado State coach Niko Medved said.
The Rams got 19 points from Isaiah Stevens and 17 from David Roddy but just 13 from the rest of the team combined. Stevens and Roddy were 9-of-20 from the field but their teammates were 3-of-23, missing all 12 of their 3-pointers.
San Diego State, which has now won 16 in a row at home, led just 36-32 at halftime but outscored Colorado State 43-17 after halftime.
“Right at the end of the first half I thought they started to impose their physicality a little bit,” Medved said of the Aztecs. “And then it obviously just turned into a groundswell in the second half.”
The 30-point loss was the biggest for the Rams since an 89-55 loss at Duke on Nov. 5, 2019.
“We know we have some things we have to clean up if we’re going to win at the level we want to,” Medved said.
The game, which allowed the Mountain West to keep a nationally televised game on CBS on Saturday, was only scheduled earlier in the week because the Aztecs’ home game against Nevada and Colorado State’s game at Boise State were postponed because of health and safety protocols.
Colorado State had played just home and neutral site games this season before losing at San Diego State. By the end of the game the Aztecs’ home crowd (10,323) was chanting “overrated” at the Rams’ players. Colorado State was ranked No. 20 by the Associated Press and No. 19 in the Coach’s Poll last week.
“Everybody gets whooped every now and then,” said Stevens. “We’ll take it on the chin and keep moving. But we have to be tougher, both physically and emotionally.”
San Diego State scored the last 14 points of the game over the final five minutes.
“I hate how we played,” said Medved, whose Rams beat Air Force 67-59 last Tuesday in their first game since Dec. 11. “But it’s a loss and we’ll move on and get better. I have no doubt this team will respond from it.”
Colorado State also didn’t play particularly well in beating No. 9 Air Force four days earlier. The Rams didn’t take their first lead until there was just five minutes remaining in the first half and never led by more than 10 the entire game. Colorado State won because its bench outscored the Falcons’ bench 29-0.
The Aztecs’ victory over the Rams was just one of four games played by Mountain West teams last week as eight games were postponed by health and safety protocols. No. 3 Boise State, No. 4 Fresno State, No. 5 Wyoming, No. 6 Nevada and No. 8 UNLV did not play a game last week. Nevada, which has won six of its last seven games hasn’t played since New Year’s Day and has played just four games since Nov. 30. Wyoming hasn’t played since Christmas Day while Boise State and Fresno State have been off since Dec. 28 (when Boise State beat Fresno State, 65-55).
No. 7 Utah State outlasted No. 11 New Mexico 90-87 in overtime behind Justin Beans’ 21 points and 11 rebounds. New Mexico, though, led 42-27 at halftime before collapsing in front of a home crowd of 8,338 at The Pit. The game was New Mexico’s first Mountain West home game at the Pit in almost two years, since a 67-64 win over Utah State on Feb. 29, 2020. The Lobos played their home games away from Albuquerque last season because of health and safety protocols.
The only other game involving a Mountain West team last week was San Jose State’s 118-43 win over Bethesda, a school from Anaheim, Calif. The victory, in front of just 1,082 fans at San Jose State, counted in San Jose State’s record (7-5 overall) but Bethesda, from the Pacific Christian Athletic Conference, has also lost exhibition games this year against Fullerton (105-46), Southern Utah (116-74), Long Beach State (102-69) and Cal State San Bernardino (108-76).
Myron Amey Jr., had 32 points in just 24 minutes off the bench for the Spartans. Amey, also known as M.J., is a 6-foot-5 guard from Vacaville (Calif.) High School who spent last season at Scotland Prep in Pennsylvania. He had scored just 14 points over seven appearances and 35 total minutes this season before erupting for his 32 points.
A total of 10 Mountain West games are scheduled this week. Nevada will host Boise State on Wednesday at Lawlor Events Center and play at Air Force on Saturday.
The Nevada Appeal’s Mountain West men’s basketball rankings for the week of Jan. 10:
1. SAN DIEGO STATE (10-3, 2-0). Last week: San Diego State 79, Colorado State 49. This week: San Diego State at Wyoming (Wednesday), San Diego State at Utah State (Saturday).
2. COLORADO STATE (11-1, 1-1). Last week: Colorado State 67, Air Force 59, San Diego State 79, Colorado State 49. This week: Utah State at Colorado State (Wednesday), Colorado State at San Jose State (Saturday).
3. BOISE STATE (10-4, 1-0). Last week: No games. This week: Boise State at Nevada (Wednesday).
4. FRESNO STATE (10-4, 0-1). Last week: No games. This week: San Jose State at Fresno State (Tuesday), Fresno State at UNLV (Friday).
5. WYOMING (11-2, 0-0). Last week: No games. This week: San Diego State at Wyoming (Wednesday), Wyoming at Utah State (Saturday).
6. NEVADA (7-5, 1-0). Last week: No games. This week: Boise State at Nevada (Wednesday), Nevada at Air Force (Saturday).
7. UTAH STATE (10-5, 1-1). Last week: Utah State 90, New Mexico 87 (OT). This week: Utah State at Colorado State (Wednesday), Wyoming at Utah State (Saturday).
8. UNLV (8-6, 0-1). Last week: No games. This week: New Mexico at UNLV (Tuesday), Fresno State at UNLV (Friday).
9. AIR FORCE (8-5, 1-1). Last week: Colorado State 67, Air Force 59. This week: Nevada at Air Force (Saturday).
10. NEW MEXICO (7-8, 0-2). Last week: Utah State 90, New Mexico 87 (OT). This week: New Mexico at UNLV (Tuesday), San Diego state at New Mexico (Saturday).
11. SAN JOSE STATE (7-5, 0-0). Last week: San Jose State 118, Bethesda (Calif.) 43. This week: San Jose State at Fresno State (Tuesday), Colorado State at San Jose State (Saturday).