The Aztecs faced a talented and stellar opponent in the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday night. Despite this loss against a top-10 foe, the Aztecs still have a shot to make a run into the top-25 polls. Led by junior forward JJ O’Brien, San Diego State sits atop the Mountain West Conference.
The Wildcats are a well-coached and hard-working team led by freshman Aaron Gordon. Gordon is averaging a double-double on the season and is taking the west coast of America by storm. O’Brien and company, however, did a great job in stopping the freshman phenom at his game on the offensive glass.
Coach Mike Fisher has gotten the best out of his squads as of late, and is heading into this season without a true scorer. O’Brien is the Aztecs’ best scorer, bar none, but he takes shots that are not part of his game. Shooting threes and hanging out on the perimeter are not his expertise, and that’s what he likes to do; he was 0-3 from beyond the three-point arc against Arizona.
Xavier Thames is their best shooter and facilitator, and his 15 points proved that. Thames is the outside to the inside-outside combo that the Aztecs bring out. He shot an awful percentage (5-15), but got to the line, where he finished 7-9.
However, Fisher should not worry about his Aztec’s performance on Thursday. The Wildcats are a good basketball team with athletes at every position, making them hard to guard. The Aztecs, however, held the Wildcats to 27 percent from three-point land. The San Diego State defense has head football coach Rocky Long jealous.
The Mountain West has its fair share of monsters in New Mexico, UNLV, Boise State and Utah State, but the Aztecs should be able to compete with the best of them. They might have lost to Arizona 60-69, but they have all eyes looking forward to their in-conference schedule against a deep and talented bunch of mid-major teams.