The Viejas Arena exits were jammed at an unusual juncture and you sure we’re at the right spot?
Before Saturday’s game was complete, the San Diego State faithful were heading into the inclement weather.
Gray was the mood inside as well.
The No. 24 Aztecs, poised to seize another Mountain West title, instead got run out of their gym by Boise State, 56-46.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve come up here with a frown on my face and feeling disappointment,’ ‘ SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. “I ‘ve got both of those. WE had an opportunity to clinch at least a share of the title and didn’t get it done. That’s disappointing. ”
And it wasn’t a fluke.
The Broncos (22-7, 12-4) smoked the Aztecs, 61-46, at Taco Bell Arena. If thinking that result was outside the box, we present Saturday’s 10-point haymaker.
The Aztecs (22-7, 12-4) seldom shoot well, and Saturday (32 percent) was no exception. What they do is clean the glass, but the Broncos (42-30) had the edge there, too.
Whatever advantage SDSU had in the MW standings vanished like the sunny weather. Boise State not only tied the Aztecs for the lead, but based on their season-sweep, own the tiebreaker as well.
So a Saturday night which seemed so right for partying, had all the buzz of a flat beer. A 29-game home winning streak went by the boards nearly as fast as the fans went into the cold night air.
It simply wasn’t the Aztecs’ night, and it started before the sun set.
Forward Dwayne Polee II wasn’t available, with more concerns about his heart.
Forward Winston Shepard led SDSU with 16 points, the lone Aztec to reach double figures.
The second half was a disaster for the Aztecs, but it didn’t start that way.
When Shepard threw down a dunk at the 13-minute mark, it was 36-30 Aztecs. The biggest question at that point was do or don’t the students storm the court?
Instead it was a tsunami of Broncos points and rebounds which washed away the Aztecs’ chances of claiming their fourth MW regular-season title in five years.
The Aztecs went from seven ahead to being outscored 15-2.
“We had a terrible stretch,” Fisher said. “You have to find ways to make plays, find ways to make stops and we didn’t do that during that stretch that a team has to do if they want to win.”
The Broncos, winners of 12 of their past 13, could stumble down the stretch. But they’re playing middle-of-the-pack Fresno State and winless San Jose State.
The Aztecs, who lost for the first time this season after leading at halftime (24-21), finish at Nevada and against Nevada.
There’s still promise to a season which will soon morph into the tournament play. But playing like they did Saturday, it could be a short stay
“We didn’t make plays,” Fisher said. “It was as simple as that.”
+ Contact Jay Paris at email@example.com