If defense wins championships then San Diego State is positioning itself for a conference title or even a national championship. With its 15th-straight home victory, SDSU is proving that, at the very least, defense wins games.
The Aztecs have been playing inspired basketball since coach Steve Fisher joined the team, but this season San Diego State is a supreme team on the defensive side of the ball. Not only is the team equipped with capable, rangy athletes but athletes who buy into a team-defense philosophy. They play sound and fundamental defense and limit the opposition to few second chance points.
Tuesday night in a rout of Utah State, 60-45, the Aztecs held the Aggies to 34 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent from the three-point land. SDSU’s disruptive length on defense also forced USU into 15 turnovers. All but one of San Diego State’s starters had at least a steal.
The Aztecs’ block-machine warrior, Skylar Spencer, slapped four balls from their trajectories in the contest. The sophomore averages 2.6 blocks on the season, and San Diego State is the 21st best team blocking shots. Spencer and the interior unit for SDSU was also effective in minimizing the efforts of USU’s big man Jarred Shaw. Although he finished with three rebounds shy of a double-double, Shaw wasn’t able to get going offensively and failed to land any trips to the free-throw line.
Even though the Aztecs’ defense has been consistently great, the next game against New Mexico will be a challenge offensively that SDSU hasn’t seen recently. It will also be a difficult game because it’s a conference road game. However, as San Diego State has been showing all year, defense travels well.