Wyoming allowed 21 offensive rebounds to No. 5 San Diego State on Tuesday night, but the Aztecs couldn’t do enough damage with their second chances as the Pokes snapped the Aztecs’ 20-game winning streak, 68-62.
It was the first loss for SDSU since the second game of the season, when Steve Fisher’s club fell to Arizona.
But it was a concerning loss for the Aztecs, one that will raise the red flags that surround this team even higher.
San Diego State is built around their ability to defend and their strength on the offensive glass. They aren’t, however, a very good shooting team. In fact, outside of Xavier Thames, who is having an all-american caliber season, this team has some serious scoring deficiencies. They’ve been exposed before — at Utah State, where SDSU won in overtime, and at Boise State, where they erased a 13-point deficit late in the second half, among others — but Thames was to bail them out down the stretch.
That didn’t happen on Tuesday.
Thames had 13 points, but he was just 3-for-15 from the floor, 0-for-7 from three, and didn’t make his first field goal until SDSU was already down by 14 points. Wyoming simply packed their defense in a 2-3 zone, daring the likes of Winston Shepard, J.J. O’Brien and Dwayne Polee to try to beat them from the outside, and it worked.
And that’s why SDSU will be a risky Final Four pick. They simply are not consistent enough on the offensive end of the floor, and on the nights where teams find a way to slow down Thames, they’re going to be in trouble.
The other concern is that SDSU was once again carved up defensively. Wyoming shot 57.9% from the floor, getting dunk after dunk in the second half. It would be easy to write that off as an altitude issue, except for the fact that it happened at Boise State for the first 35 minutes as well.
The Aztecs are a good team, but they aren’t good enough to overcome a bad night defensively and an off-night from Xavier Thames.
Wyoming proved it.