by Jake Runyon
Who would have guessed that Matt Shrigley would be the most important player tonight for the Aztecs?
Matt Shrigley went on a stretch midway in the second half that erased a 5 point UNLV lead, and kept the Aztecs in it.
Some clutch shots in the final stretch by Xavier Thames and Winston Shepard was enough to the put the game away.
Early in the first half, SDSU took an early 12-5 lead by capitalizing on some clumsy turnovers by UNLV’s guards. UNLV responded with a 10-0 run to take a 15-12 lead.
Turnovers continued to plague UNLV in the first half, but a couple of very clutch 3 pointers from Daquan Cook kept the game close.
SDSU went on a small run and had a 6 point lead with 2:47 remaining in the first half. UNLV responded with back to back baskets, to cut the lead to 1. Kevin Olekaibe was able to draw a foul on a 3-point buzzer beater attempt. After going 2/3 from the line UNLV somehow went into the locker room with 1 point lead despite committing 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
UNLV came out strong in the beginning stages of the second half and took an early 5 point lead.
Then Matt Shrigley happened.
At the 14:54 mark of the second half Shrigley knocked down his first three.
Then he hit another one at 12:52. He followed that with a driving layup on the next possession.
He then splashed in back to back threes. These 3’s were especially frustrating because UNLV was making their shots as well. Every single time it seemed like the Rebels were going to extend the lead. Shrigley answered.
At the 8 minute mark of the second half, SDSU led 56-55. BDJ went 2/2 at the FT line to give the lead back to UNLV.
Khem Birch knocked converted a free throw with 3:29 left to give UNLV a 62-61 lead. That would be the last time UNLV saw the lead, as SDSU was able to grind the game away.
At 2:34, Winston Shepard knocked down a huge three to extend SDSU lead to 5.
-No matter how bad he is playing, Xavier Thames always plays with so much confidence. It isn’t a question of “if” he will turn it on, but when.
-Khem Birch had a great game tonight. He ended with 16th double of the season. 16 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks.
-UNLV never looked comfortable bringing the ball up the court. SDSU press is good, but there is no excuse for the sloppy play from our guards.
-Christian Wood no longer plays like a freshman. That being said, he had a few too many bad shots tonight.
-Carlos Lopez-Sosa biggest problem his whole career is staying out of foul trouble. When he was on the floor tonight, he was very efficient. However, he can’t go more than 3 or 4 possessions without committing a foul.
-At the end of day, this game had very little implication on UNLV’s seeding for the MWC tourney, especially with Boise St losing to UNR. My feelings about UNLV has not changed. UNLV has just a good a shot as any other team heading into the MWC tourney.