After a 14-point first half debacle Wednesday night, San Diego State rebounded Thursday with its most complete offensive effort all season in a blowout victory over Boise State.
Led by Malik Pope’s 22 points and Max Hoeztel’s 21, the Aztecs knocked off a BSU team that had aspirations of venturing deep into this year’s Mountain West tournament. Instead, the Broncos are the ones packing.
Both teams got off to solid starts in the first half, going back and forth until the score was 42-37 in advantage of SDSU at the intermission. In the second half, however, Boise State’s offense went cold while San Diego State couldn’t miss. Four Broncos did finish in double figures, though, as Nick Duncan and Paris Austin both tallied 15 points.
SDSU finished the night 9-14 (61%) from deep. It was the best performance from three-point range since going 11-26 (42.3%) in the MWC/MVC Challenge loss to Loyola Illinois. We haven’t seen an Aztec offense run as smoothly and efficiently all season.
Defensively, SDSU was just as good. Boise State is typically reliant on points via the triple, but San Diego State perfectly matched BSU’s drive-and-dish attack, forcing turnovers and creating issues in the Boise passing lanes. Though Boise did hit nine treys, the offense wasn’t the same in the second half as it was in the early portion of the game.
Late in the game, Malik Pope hobbled to the sideline after contesting a shot, aggravating the same knee that had bothered him throughout the season. Pope went directly to the locker room and returned to the SDSU bench, saying postgame that he will be fine and ready to go for Friday’s game. It was a tense scene for Aztec fans that enjoyed witnessing Pope’s best game of the season.
With the victory, San Diego State will battle Colorado State for a chance to appear in the Mountain West title game. That matchup will tip-off at 9:30pm PT on CBS Sports Network.
See you late on Friday night.