SDSU men’s hoops looking to make a statement against CSU

Aztecs guard Jeremy Hemsley (42) attempts a basket. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) per GoAztecs.com

The San Diego State men’s basketball team has had a tough time living up to the expectations given to them before this season started.

The Aztecs were the favorites to win the Mountain West conference. Outside of a two nationally recognized games (Gonzaga and Arizona State), the schedule was destined for a magical Steve Fisher season like we’ve seen several times in his time at SDSU. However, we are about halfway through the season, and the Aztecs are barely .500, opening the door for a lot of criticism from their hometown fans.

After falling to 10th in the MW conference a couple weeks ago, SDSU quickly rebounded with three consecutive wins in the conference, giving supporters of the Scarlet and Black some hope. The Aztecs, however, suffered another frustrating loss to Air Force, which further pushed SDSU’s title dreams out of the picture.

With 11 games still pinned on the schedule, all hope is not lost for the Aztecs.

Fisher is more than capable of leading SDSU on a prosperous run to close out the season, a run that will start with earning a win in Viejas Arena against Colorado State University on Saturday.

“All we have to do is look at the stats right now, Fisher said. “One game separates those of us with three losses from first place, and one game separates those with three losses from eighth place. So every game is crucial to have a chance to win this league.”

The Aztecs (12-8) will look to climb out of sixth place in the MW with a win over fifth-place CSU (12-8).

Led by redshirt senior guard Gian Clavell (16.3 PPG) and senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo (13.3 PPG), the Rams’ offense has flashed their horns in recent weeks.

SDSU will lean on their backcourt in sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley (14.9 PPG) and junior guard Try Kell (13.3 PPG) to rally the Aztecs’ struggling offense to new heights.

Additionally, look for SDSU to rely on senior forward Matt Shrigley to spark their offense with some key three-pointers in transition.

The Aztecs’ defense, on the other hand, has maintained its strength this season despite the team’s poor record. SDSU’s defense has held opponents to less than 61 points per game in each of their last four games.

With that, the Aztecs’ defense must again carry the load against CSU’s highly talented offense in order to keep the pressure off the team’s inconsistent offensive attack.

Follow @KCRSports to see live tweets from Saturday’s game starting at 3:00 p.m. (PST).

San Diego State Basketball vs. Arizona State Preview

The San Diego State men’s basketball team will welcome Arizona State to Viejas arena Saturday afternoon for one of the biggest games of the season for both teams.

 The last time these two teams met on the court, the Sun Devils came out with the win 57-54 but the world was a different place; the Pac-12 was the Pac-10, Malik Pope was 14, Kawhi Leonard was still in an SDSU uniform, and the year was 2010. A lot has changed for both teams in the last six years.

The Aztec’s NCAA tournament bid hangs in the balance as this game is a necessary win to keep the dream alive. San Diego is coming off a two game road trip which included surprising losses to Loyola University and Grand Canyon University. With this game being the last big non-conference challenge on the Aztec’s schedule, all eyes are on Coach Fisher and his team.

Arizona State is looking to defy pre season predictions of a last place finish in the pac 12, and they are trying to rebound from a huge loss to purdue 97-64 in the Jimmy V Classic Tournament in New York.

SDSU’s leading scoring, Sophomore forward Jeremy Hemsley, will look to continue his offensive dominance, as he has averaged a team high 18.1 points per game this season. His offensive talent has played a key role in the four wins that the Aztec’s have compiled this season.

The Aztecs come into this game with all starters healthy and ready to battle, and Senior Forward Malik Pope will have national attention on him as he attempts to lead his team to a huge victory on Saturday against the Sun Devils. Not only does Pope dream of an NCAA bid, but the NBA is a very realistic future for the senior, who has been regarded as a lottery pick earlier in his career.

It will be interesting to see how the Aztec defense reacts to a Sun Devil offense that is averaging 84 points a game, but Aztec fans should not fear; Gonzaga, Savannah State, and GCU all averaged 83+ points before they played SDSU and were held under that mark.

 The Aztec’s defense is ranked in the top half of the nation, only allowing 63.8 points per game.

A huge problem for the Aztecs this season is the zone defense. Both losses have come from teams that play zone on defense, and it severely impacts their ability to score the ball. 

Only time can tell if SDSU will step up to the challenge and overcome their weakness.

Tip off in Viejas Arena is at 4 pm PST, and can be watched on CBS or listened to on The Mighty 1090 am. KCR will also be live tweeting the game from courtside at @KCRsports.

No. 24 San Diego State Football vs. University of Wyoming Preview

San Diego State football will travel to Laramie, Wyoming this Saturday to take on the University of Wyoming for what will easily be the biggest game in the Mountain West conference this season.

Both sitting on top of the MW conference, SDSU and Wyoming are looking to pull ahead of the pack in their respective divisions this season, for both teams have something to prove.

With the Aztecs emerging in the Associated Press Top 25 at No. 24, the Cowboys will look to knock off yet another nationally ranked opponent in front of their home crowd, as they topped No. 22 Boise State University October 29th, 30-28.

With a win in War Memorial Stadium, SDSU will be one step closer to solidifying home field advantage in the MW championship game and reaching a New Year’s Six bowl.

SDSU possesses a red hot defense that has only given up 42 points during their active six-game winning streak, and their offense has follow suit.

With Heisman candidate Donnel Pumphrey in the backfield, the Aztecs’ offense has put up at least 40 points in their last four games.

Though seeing a number before their team’s name is always exciting, SDSU football fans understand what is at stake come Saturday and are likely already sitting on the edge of their seat.

Since 1977, the Aztecs have lost all three games when nationally ranked, including their loss to the University of South Alabama earlier this season.

Fortunately for the Aztecs, they added a new tip to their spear after their devastating loss to the Jaguars, climbing back into the rankings because of their dominant play on both sides of the ball within their six-game winning streak.

Despite seeing the national spotlight return to his team, SDSU head coach Rocky Long assured the media that their motivation goes beyond a number in front of their name.

“Our team wants to win the conference championship,” Long said. “I’m sure they are happy that we are back in the top 25, even though I told them that it doesn’t matter until the end of the season. Our motivation is that we want to win the rest of the games because there are a lot of good things that can happen after the season if we can win them all. We might get to play in a New Year’s Day bowl game, we’d be the conference champions. There are incentives out there, but the real incentive is that we get to play another football game.”

Surprisingly, Wyoming leads the total series against SDSU 18-17, but the Aztecs have won the last two contests. SDSU dismantled the Cowboys in their most recent affair at home, 38-3.

However, the Cowboys will have a clear advantage in their home stadium because of weather conditions that are relatively unfamiliar to SDSU.

“It will be cold by our standards, but the long-range forecast for Saturday is sunny and 38 degrees or around that and in Laramie, Wyoming, that is not cold, that’s a great day,” Long said. “The biggest factor in any game is not wetness or anything like that, it’s the wind that makes a huge difference in an outcome of the game. The wind is not supposed to very high, so that’s good, but at times it blows very hard in Wyoming and if it blows hard it changes the complexion of the game dramatically.”

This “great day” will kickoff 1:30 pm (12:30pm PST) in Laramie, Wyoming and can be watched on CBS Sports Network or listened to on the radio at The Mighty 1090 AM.

Follow @SportsKCR to experience both informational and entertaining coverage of the game come Saturday.

Here at KCR, our Aztec fans don’t miss a beat.

SDSU’s Men’s Basketball team bounces back against San Diego Christian, 81-58

San Diego State men’s basketball’s junior guard Trey Kell summed up the Aztecs’ attitude towards San Diego Christian on Wednesday night in two words: “hell nah.”

Following Kell’s lead, SDSU rolled over the visiting Hawks, 81-58.

Kell shot 7-10 from the field en route to a 19-point performance that included six rebounds, four assists, and an emphatic block.

SDSU pressured the Hawks into poor shot selections all night because of their strong, aggressive defense, forcing SD Christian to convert on just 32.3 percent of their shots from the field and commit 17 turnovers.

A strong overall performance was just what SDSU head coach Steve Fisher wanted tonight to get the spotlight off of his team’s embarrassing 69-48 loss against Gonzaga on Monday. With the win, SDSU has now won six consecutive games coming after a loss.

“I told them at halftime that it reminded me of my third hour gym class when I was teaching at Rich East High School on kickball and one young freshman said, ‘Coach, this is forced fun,’ I said, ‘It looks like it is forced fun,’” Fisher said. “I think you are feeling sorry for yourself about the whooping we took on Monday and you can’t do that. And I thought the second-half we played with – we were far from perfect. But I liked our pop in our step and we played with a little more ‘I’m really glad to be here,’ rather than, ‘I have to be here.’”

Sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley joined his frontcourt teammate in the fun on offense, shooting 9-12 from the field for 23 points. His offensive prowess was backed by his ability from behind the arc, as he saw three of his four boundary shots find the bottom of the net.

His play drew raving reviews from SD Christian head coach Edgar Mendez.

“(Sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley) is phenomenal,” Mendez said. “We tried to box him in in transition, and even with us thinking about him he still was able to get into the hole plenty of times. He did a great job.”

Senior guard Dakarai Allen and sophomore forward Zylan Cheatham also added to the mix, both dropping 15 points, respectively.

Sophomore forward Malik Pope (knee) and junior forward Matt Shrigley (ankle) both at out of the matchup because of injuries, leaving the door open for the Aztecs’ bench to highlight the scoreboard.

“I don’t know, maybe we just have a dark cloud over our heads,” Allen said in reference to the team’s injuries. “We got Sergio (Ibarra), he is a solid (athletic) trainer, and hopefully they get all the injured players back.”

Despite the injuries, Allen and company still found a way to dominate their opponent on both sides of the court, sending Aztec fans out of Viejas Arena on a high note. Their win is a step in the right direction and just a glimpse of their potential.

SDSU will hit the road on Monday to square off against No. 25 University of California, Berkeley at the brand new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

With national attention looming, the Aztecs will look to pull off the upset to add validity to their top-end potential.