Aztec Basketball is back with some Montezuma Magic
San Diego Basketball is back and it came down to the wire this past week at Viejas Arena in two back to back games. With clutch performances, strategic coaching and an undeniable home court advantage the Aztecs were able to nut up and shut up all the naysayers who did NOT believe that they would win.
The Aztecs first game was on 11/17 vs USC. The game was a match between two skilled basketball schools who did a majority of their recruiting from the southern California area. At the half USC was up by a few points. When the second half started, the Aztecs began to drain their long- range three-pointers and got back on top of the scoreboard. With relentless noise showering down on the court in support for the Aztecs they used The Show’s momentum to pretty much put the game away.
The game was intense and fast-paced. On the Aztec sideline you could see Jamaal Franklin puking from exhaustion. USC hung on to the game by their finger tips and with a minute left they took the score to 51-54. Into the games final minute the Aztecs held them down, but in the final thirty seconds USC’s point guard threw up a game-tying shot from five feet beyond the three-point-line. The ball banked off the glass and then through the net. With just eight seconds left in the game Coach Fisher called a time out. When they in bounded the ball, Aztecs transfer Xavier “X” Thames channeled his inner DJ Gay, dribbled the ball the distance of the court, smoothly knifed through the Trojan defense and put up a simple lay up for the game winner with just 0.8 seconds left. The Viejas Arena went crazy including The RollinSD coverage team. Pac-12 has nothing on San Diego.
The Aztecs second game on 11/19 was a hard fought battle against a physically more talented team in Long Beach State who had just took down ninth-ranked Pitt in their previous game. The Aztecs started the game with dismal display and were called for a flurry of fouls. Ten minutes into the first half, Long Beach State began to return the favor. The refs were calling every questionable call they could against both teams. Long Beach had stretched the lead to at least 11 but by the end of the first half the Aztecs had cut the gap to just three points. In the second half, the barrage of penalties continued. Every shot from the free-throw line proved to be necessary.
At the mid-point of the second half Coach Fisher was looking into his playbook and searching for some Montezuma magic. With just five minutes left, the Aztecs pulled ahead with a few three point lay-ups by James Rahon, Jamaal Franklin, and Xavier Thames. The Aztecs let them hang around and Long Beach tied it at the foul line. After a last-minute miss by Jamaal Franklin for the win, the game was headed to over-time. Coach Fisher saw the advantage the Aztecs had and instructed his team to push Long Beach State over the foul limit. After two of Long Beach State’s big guys fouled out. The game came down to Jamaal Franklin. After getting fouled he was sent to the line with 3.9 seconds left in overtime, he hit two free throws to lift San Diego State past Long Beach State 77-73 at Viejas Arena.
Next game the Aztecs are heading to Tuscon to face the University of Arizona. The Aztecs like that arena and are comfortable winning there. ~Tony Fantano