Butler and Bradley combined for 32 points in a strong performance leaving the Wolfpack howling for mercy
Viejas Arena is a wonderful, friendly place to watch a game if you’re an Aztec fan. Not so much for the visiting team. This lopsided home-court advantage was on display Tuesday evening when the San Diego State Aztecs played extremely rude hosts to the Nevada Wolfpack in front of 12,183 fans. The final 74-65 score wasn’t even that close, as Nevada scored some mercy points toward the end of the game after being down by 20 for most of the second half. The Aztecs show their ranking of 23rd in the country is valid as they turned in a complete performance on both offense and defense. All night long, the Aztecs found easy paint shots, driving the lane with ease against the hapless Wolfpack, shooting 50 percent while going 8/21 from downtown. The Aztecs had precision ball movement which led to better looks for shots and a wide assist margin. Passing lanes opened up as the Aztecs toyed with the Wolf Pups most of the evening. Nevada, coming off of a dominating performance against San Jose State, looked like a JV version of that team. While they did have four players in double figures, including freshman Nick Davidson with 17, they were never able to sustain any momentum on either end of the court. They wound up shooting 40% from the field, 20% from beyond the arc and only managed nine assists and 28 rebounds versus the Aztecs 32. The bright spot for Nevada was the last few minutes where they were able to outscore the Aztecs by twelve to make the final score respectable.
This was the Aztecs 11th straight victory against Nevada at Viejas Arena. This strong performance may be what the doctor ordered heading into Saturday's game against New Mexico, fresh off of a 82-75 victory against Oral Roberts. The Lobos have fallen dramatically since starting off the season undefeated. They have lost two straight conference games and currently sit in sixth place in the conference with a 15-2 record and 2-2 in conference play. The games with San Diego State and New Mexico will be played in arguably two of the most hostile environment, with Viejas and the Pit hosting rabid fans. The Aztecs travel to Albuquerque on February 25. Keshad Johnson contributed eleven points and three rebounds to complement Butlers 15 points and ‘Bradleys' 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jaedon Ledee came off the bench to add nine points and six rebounds. The game showed the level of talent that is evident with this team as it continues to build momentum. They appear to be the dominant team in the conference at this moment. While the conference is deep with good teams, the Aztecs seem to be the best team. Wyoming and Fresno State have disappointed, San Jose State has surprised and Boise State, UNLV and Utah State have exceeded expectations, the conference looks to be the Aztecs to lose. The march continues toward tournament time and the conference is sitting pretty well with seven teams with legitimate records, but they will continue to cannibalize each other. I surmise that there will be four, perhaps five teams that make the tourney and fully expect the Aztecs to be the top seed out of the Mountain West.