Logan, UT. January 2, 2016
The Aggies lost their first home conference game, falling to the San Diego State Aztecs on a night where questionable officiating calls were abundant. The Aggies’ comeback attempt fell just short as they were unable to close the gap, falling 70-67. The Aggies were led by Lew Evans, who registered another double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Jalen Moore, Shane Rector, and Chris Smith were the other Aggies who scored in double digits. San Diego State was led by forward Winston Shepard, who scored 18 points, including 11 in the second half. Three other players scored in double figures for the Aztecs.
After the Aztecs won the tip, the Aggies played solid defense to jump out to a 4-point lead early on. But after a few careless mistakes, San Diego State took and held the lead for most of the first half, even extending it to 8 points with six and a half minutes remaining. But the Aggies put together a rally led by Lew Evans to tie the game with 46 seconds left. The Aztecs hit a 3 pointer to retake the lead with 37 seconds remaining, putting the score at 39-36 at halftime.
Evans put up 15 points in the first half to lead the Aggies, scoring all his points off of 3 pointers and free throws. He also led the team with 7 first half rebounds. Smith scored 9 first half points while not missing a shot. The Aztecs were led by guard Trey Kell with 10 points.
San Diego State started the second half on a 10 point run. The Aggies followed that by going on a 7-0 run of their own to bring the lead back to just 6 with 14 minutes to go. After a competitive battle back and forth throughout the second half, the Aggies cut the lead to just one with just over a minute remaining. The Aztecs then extended the lead back to 5 on a layup and then a pair of free throws, the last of which was made with only 5 seconds remaining. Lew Evans then hit a deep 3 point shot to cut the lead to 2 with only 3 seconds left. After a questionable call that resulted in San Diego State hitting one more free throw, the Aggies called a time out and failed to inbound the ball as it was tipped by a couple SDSU players.
Smith and Coach Duryea both commented about how second chance points really hurt the Aggies as they gave up 15 of them off of a season high of 16 offensive rebounds allowed. Evans talked about how after the 10-0 run, he and Jalen Moore adjusted their switches on defense that allowed them to slow them down SDSU. Said Coach Duryea, “Our number one key in the game was that we had to play them even on the boards… to have a chance to win.” “16 offensive boards are entirely too many.” Evans, Smith, and Duryea all talked about how the Aztecs hit big shots when they needed to.
This loss marks the first loss in a home conference opener since the 1988-89 season. It also is the fourth loss in a row to San Diego State. The Aggies are back in action on Tuesday, January 5th at 8 p.m. against Boise State in the Spectrum.