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SDSU vs. Air Force Recap: Aztecs prevail despite slow start

After an up and down season, the Aztecs win their final home game.

NCAA Basketball: Air Force at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Following another devastating loss at the buzzer, the San Diego State Aztecs looked to bounce back on senior night at home. The Aztecs (17-12, 9-8) accomplished just that as they defeated the Air Force Falcons (11-19, 4-13) with a 51-38 victory at Viejas Arena.

The Aztecs senior night did not start out as planned. Specifically, the Aztecs failed to score a basket until Trey Kell’s 3-point jumper nearly seven minutes into the game. Both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket in the first half collectively. However, the Aztecs would go on a 9-0 run and lead 22-13 at halftime.

Malik Pope led all scorers with 7 points and 5 rebounds at the break.

In the second half, the Aztecs looked sluggish as the Falcons slowly fought their way back into the game. Ultimately, Lavelle Scottie’s layup would tie the game at 27 with 12:27 remaining. This would be the closest the Falcons would get for the remainder of the contest.

The answer came from senior Matt Shrigley. After missing his first six shots from the field, Matt remained poised and continued to shoot. Shrigley would hit two major 3-point jumpers that helped extend the Aztecs lead to 41-29 with 5:13 left.

Down the stretch, Shrigley made four free throws in the final 50 seconds to give the Aztecs a comfortable victory.

For the Aztecs, Pope led the way with 11 points and 8 rebounds, and Kell finished with 6 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Overall, both teams combined to shoot poorly from the field (SDSU: 28%, AFA: 25%) and from the 3-point line (SDSU: 14%, AFA: 14%). The game’s first points did not come until nearly five minutes in when Falcons’ Hayden Graham made a 3-pointer.

Player of the game:

On senior night, it is always a pleasure to watch seniors perform at the highest level. Despite a rough shooting stretch, Aztecs’ shooting guard Matt Shrigley kept a level head. The senior finished with 10 points (all in the second half) and led the Aztecs to victory in his final home game.

Up Next:

SDSU: The Aztecs will travel to the road against New Mexico for their final game of the season this Saturday.

AFA: The Falcons will face Boise State on Saturday at home.