This past season brought Aztecs fans a lot of joy. A sure-fire automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which was not to be, was something that the Aztecs had not had in a long while. There were tons of great games, moments, and players that made this season a fun ride for Aztecs fans.
We look back at some of the Bests of this past season:
November 28, 2019 vs. Creighton (83-52)
After beating a BYU team that was missing Yoeli Childs, the Aztecs faced their first big test against a good Creighton squad. On the night, everything went right for the Aztecs on both ends of the court. The team ended up shooting over 57% from the field and an even better 63.6% from beyond the arc. In the end the Aztecs beat the Blue Jays by 31 points in what was only best described as a fun night.
December 21, 2019 vs. Utah (80-52)
A lot of San Diego State fans dislike the PAC-12 for a multitude of reasons. Whether it is their cowardice to play us in the major sports or the attitude of their conference and fans towards San Diego State. So when you get a chance to play a PAC-12 school, you really want to take it to them. The last two PAC-12 teams they played did not go well for San Diego State, with losses to California and Arizona State. Playing the Utes in Los Angeles was a chance for San Diego State show where they stood. The defense was on point forcing Utah into 17 turnovers, which turned into 17 points for the good guys. This was another satisfying beat down as the Aztecs took it to the Utes early and ramped it up even more in the second half en route to a 28 point win.
February 29, 2020 vs. Nevada (83-76)
The season finale usually holds some kind of significance in the standings, however the Aztecs clinched the league weeks before their final game and did not have much to play for as a team. Instead on the line was potentially the Mountain West Player of the Year award as Nevada’s Jalen Harris was getting a lot of attention for his spectacular performance in Mountain West play. Malachi Flynn had something to say about that as he finished with 36 points on 60% shooting from the field to lead the Aztecs to a comeback win over Nevada. Flynn’s brilliant performance made this game one of the best of the year.
Malachi Flynn’s 3-Pointer To Beat San Jose State (12/8/19)
On an afternoon where the Aztecs were sluggish and could not get going, they trailed the Spartans 56-57 with five seconds to go and the ball under the San Jose State basket. Undefeated and staring a bad home loss to the lowly Spartans, Flynn bailed the team out with a game winning three point shot. The sequence was surreal as KJ Feagin inbounded the ball to Jordan Schakel who was double-teamed. Flynn rolled from the opposite side of the court, received the pass, and let the shot fly over three Spartans who came together to contest the shot. The shot hit nothing but net, which caused Viejas Arena to erupt in joy.
Matt Mitchell’s Dunk Versus New Mexico (2/11/20)
Beating a rival is always fun, but the destruction of rival New Mexico Lobos was a blast as the Aztecs got off to an 17-0 run that completely energized the Viejas faithful and deflated the Lobos. The game was punctuated by one of the most amazing dunks I have ever seen. New Mexico had the ball under the Aztecs basket and tried to lob the ball into the backcourt. Matt Mitchell tipped the ball over the defense and took it in for a fast break basket. It appeared Mitchell was going to lay the ball in when the Lobos defenders closed in. Mitchell cocked the ball behind his head and dunked over a jumping Keith McGee in one of the best dunks I have ever seen.
Keshad Johnson’s Dunk In The Pit (1/29/20)
Apparently the Aztecs like throwing spectacular dunks against the Lobos. In the game at the Pit freshman Keshad Johnson quieted the crowd, after they had pulled within 14, with a surprising dunk. After the Lobos had gotten the crowd into the game, the ball came to Johnson at the three-point line. He jab stepped to the left and got past his defender and took off from outside the key, gliding on his way to a spectacular dunk. The dunk makes the list for how unsuspecting it was. At no point during that sequence did I see it ending the way it did, which made it memorable.
Kawhi Leonard’s Retirement Ceremony (2/1/20)
When you hear about Kawhi Leonard being on campus, he is usually holed up at the JAM Center. In its biggest game of the season to date, at home against Utah State, the Aztecs decided to hang up Leonard’s jersey in the Viejas Arena rafters. The moment was one that was well deserved and arguably overdue. Leonard helped create a legacy here at San Diego State and his success in the National Basketball Association has done so much for the program. It was an incredible night and even better it was topped off with a 80-68 victory.
Clinching The Conference (2/11/20)
With the season still three weeks from ending the Aztecs had a chance of clinching at least a share of the Mountain West title. However earlier in the day Colorado State lost, meaning that with a win over New Mexico the Aztecs would clinch the outright Mountain West regular season title. They then went ahead and demolished the Lobos, eating New Mexico 82-59. Per tradition the crowd rushed the court and the players and coaches cut down the nets at home. A moment that is wonderful especially if you are there.
Malachi Flynn (36 points) vs. Nevada (2/29/20)
On the last day of the season the Aztecs played Nevada and Flynn looked to put no doubt that he was the Mountain West Player of the Year against the presumed challenger Jalen Harris. Flynn balled out and scored 36 points on 65% shooting in an 83-76 win. His dominance was a statement that he truly was the best player in the conference.
KJ Feagin (18 points; 66.7% from 3) vs. New Mexico (1/29/20)
The first basket in the Aztecs game against the New Mexico Lobos at the Pit was a three-pointer by Feagin. That would be the first of six 3-pointers he would hit that day. Feagin took nine threes that day, all his shots were from beyond the arc, and made six for 66.7%. It was a dominant performance by a player who had deferred to others and gave up personal glory for his teammates.
Yanni Wetzell (17 points and16 rebounds) vs. Nevada (1/18/20)
Rebounding had been an Achilles Heel for the Aztecs, compounded by the loss of Nathan Mensah. In their first matchup with Nevada the Aztecs outrebounded the Wolf Pack 42-35 behind a 16 rebound performance by Wetzell. Through determination and hustle Wetzell finished with his best game of the season, 17 points and 16 rebounds for a monster double-double. It was a huge game and confidence builder for the Aztecs who had been reeling on the glass.