The SDSU Aztecs return home, after a huge road win at Wyoming, to host the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. UNLV has a young nucleus of players that match up against the veteran leadership of SDSU. Though the Rebels got started early in the first half, SDSU’s veteran knowledge led them to victory.
SDSU looked outmatched against the youth of UNLV early in the game. At halftime, the score was 24-17 and UNLV was in control. Rashad Vaughn, Patrick McCaw, and Goodluck Okonoboh led their Rebels team with smart rebounding turning into points. This young team had a clear path but the veterans of SDSU took charge.
J.J. O’Brien got the team going in the 2nd half by fighting for every rebound and facilitating to teammates. Aqeel Quinn got good looks, Angelo Chol in the post, and O’Brien worked for second chance buckets. The Aztecs needed a guy to step up and O’Brien answered the call. The Aztecs won the game 53-47.
Head Coach Steve Fisher praised O’Brien after the game, “He’s a quiet leader. He says a few things at the right moment in the locker room that are very impactful. He did it before Wyoming and yesterday leading into the game with Vegas. He’s a maturing, young guy who can play basketball. I loved his stat line, 11 points, 10 rebounds and 38 minutes. I know that’s a lot of minutes but we kept him in”
The most important stat line is J.J.’s 38 minutes. He did not want to come off the floor because he felt this was his moment. He was great on defense, leading to rebounds, and that had it’s effect to open up opportunities for his teammates.
Aqeel Quinn talked about how O’Brien is their glue, “”JJ has been in the system, you can’t say enough about him. He does everything right every day. He goes to lift, he doesn’t skip anything. He just does everything right, and he’s starting to speak up a lot more. The maturation of JJ is lovely to see.”
Quinn had 14 points on the day and was the player that stepped up next to O’Brien. When the team was in a shooting slump, Quinn made tough shots and O’Brien fed that fire. Both players bounced off each other today and that was the winning formula.
SDSU is 4-1 in the Mountain West and continue to build towards a championship. Their next game will send them on the road to Air Force in a hostile environment. It will be Tuesday, January 20 at 6:30 Pacific on CBS Sports Network.