Winston Shepard had 16 points and 11 rebounds, for his second double-double of the season, as the San Diego State Aztecs beat Wyoming in their Mountain West Conference opener at Steve Fisher Court at Viejas Arena, 67-55.
"Winston has been practicing like a trooper. We talked to Winston, we said two things: play for others and good things will happen for you, and rebound the ball," said Coach Steve Fisher.
Shepard was listening. Early in the game he blew past his defender for a thunderous one-handed slam and in the next sequence he threw an alley-oop from behind the three-point line to freshman Zylan Cheatham for a dunk that almost blew the lid off Viejas Arena. He also was ferocious on the glass, grabbing five of his 11 rebounds on the offensive end.
After the Cheatham dunk the Aztecs were up 10-2 and used runs of 10-0, 6-0, and 8-0 to build a 25-7 lead with less than eight minutes in the first half. The Cowboys fought back to cut the Aztecs lead to 10 at halftime.
In the second half Wyoming got the lead down to four but Jeremy Hemsley (16 points, five rebounds) hit back-to-back three pointers to extend the lead to 50-40 with nine minutes left in the game. After that the Aztecs took control and closed out the game with a victory for the 153rd straight time when leading at the five minute mark.
The Aztecs dominated the rebounding battle against a Wyoming team that did not attack the offensive glass. San Diego State out-rebounded the Cowboys 48-21 and held a 21 to six edge on the offensive boards. Skylar Spencer led the Aztecs with 12 rebounds, while contributing eight points.
"Coach talked to me and he named off a couple of things that he wanted me to improve on and one of them was rebounding. So I just had to turn it up a little bit more and give a little more effort and when you try hard, balls come your way," Spencer said.
Trey Kell added 14 points for the Aztecs who have now won their Mountain West Conference Opener nine straight years.
Jordan Adams led the Cowboys with 16 points, while Hayden Dalton came off the bench and scored 13 points.
The Aztecs head to Utah State to play the Aggies on Saturday at 7 pm PST. Wyoming stays on the road and is hoping to change their fortune in Reno for a 3 p.m. PST tip against Nevada.