The SDSU Aztecs won their last game when they hosted Long Beach State but they lost their previous road game at Washington. This team has to prove they can win on the road or they will not survive the Mountain West. Right now the team needs to get healthy so they can be compete but while one important players returns, another be gone until January.
SDSU played a defensive battle predicated on great steals and smart shots. The team battled all the way to overtime but they got away from their strength. Their defense collapsed and they got beaten from behind the arc. Cincinnati came into overtime turned up to 11 and SDSU had not got up to 9 yet.
J.J. O’Brien spoke about how flat the team came out, “They just got a couple of easy looks early. The first play of overtime they called a foul on me. I felt like it was a good play but they called the foul so they got that and they got the easy 3. They just started off faster than us and we couldn’t recover.”
The other factor in this game being so close was the rebound battle. Cincinnati had 35 and SDSU had 33, the SDSU front court only had 11 and the rebounds are getting spread around too easily. If the Aztecs want to secure a good lead then they need to be winning the rebound battle.
Winston Shepard thought the rebounds were a key weakness, “Defensive rebounding first and foremost. I think we took Josh Davis for granted. He cleaned that end of the floor up. I have to, myself, get more defensive rebounds. I would think J.J. (O’Brien) has to get more defensive rebounds, (Dwayne) Polee has to get more defensive rebounds. We can talk about as good as a defensive team as we want to be but Coach always talks about defensive rebounds, `That finishes the possession.’
Aqeel Quinn returned for this game and he looked great. Quinn was not expected to return for 2 weeks but he has made a strong recovery and is back to sparking the 2nd unit. Angelo Chol got hurt on a late dunk and hit his knee hard.
Steve Fisher reassured the media that Chol is fine, “”I think he’s OK. That knee, Tom Abdenour calls it `jumper’s knee,’ he landed on it when he went in and dunked. I think he’s OK.” It sounds like Chol should be able to play on Saturday but it will be interesting to see if his minutes are limited.
SDSU will host Ball State on December 20 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.