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By Liz Alper

Photo courtesy

January 4, 2017 (Reno) - After a loss that should've been a win on New Year's Day against New Mexico on the first day of conference play, the San Diego State Aztecs men's basketball team traveled to Reno to take on the Wolfpack of the University of Nevada.

Nevada opened the scoring with sophomore forward Cameron Oliver’s three.  But sophomore guard Zylan Cheatham cut the deficit to one with a smooth two.  Nevada kept up their three game, however, and SDSU racked up some fouls as per usual and Nevada was out to a 9-4 lead early.  Despite the errors, SDSU stayed close with some big help from sophomore Indiana transfer Max Hoetzel, who knocked down the Aztecs’ first three of the game.  Senior D’Erryl Williams followed that up with a three of his home to bring the Aztecs to within one at 11-10, but Nevada pulled back out by two with a free throw by Oliver.  It was 12-10 with 12 minutes left in the first half.  SDSU finally tied the game at 14 on a pump fake jumper with nine and a half minutes left in the half.  Hoetzel stepped up and gave the Aztecs their first lead of the game in a big way with a pick-and-pop deep three and SDSU led 17-16 with a 7-2 run.  The teams traded threes and went back and forth for most of the first half, neither team having a clear advantage.  After a topsy-turvy first half, it was Nevada who went to the locker room with the lead 35-31 thanks to sophomore guard Lindsey Drew’s three with seconds left.  Hoetzel led San Diego State in points with nine.

In the second half, Nevada finally pulled away thanks to slams by Oliver and a few baskets from sophomore guard/forward Jordan Caroline.  Just as SDSU cut the lead to one possession, senior D.J. Fenner dropped a three for Nevada to go back up 47-41.  Caroline helped Nevada to a 10-point lead and himself to a double double with eight minutes left.  Sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley kept the Aztecs in the game by hitting contested threes and keeping SDSU within two possessions.  Cheatham brought the Aztecs to within four with a monster dunk, driving right to the hoop.  The bad news is, the dunk came at the wrong time with only a minute left.  Senior guard Marcus Marshall hit another three to give Nevada a 68-61 lead, Hemsley hit another to make it a four-point game.  Despite a valiant effort by Hemsley, SDSU just barely lost to the now 13-3 Nevada 72-69, putting an end to their three-game win streak.  They fall to 0-2 in conference play and 8-6 overall.  The Aztecs drop their first game to Nevada for the first time since 1998-99.  Hemsley led the way with a chart-topping 30 points.  The Aztecs have dropped consecutive Mountain West games for the first time in 62 league games.

The Aztecs continue their road trip by traveling to Boise State on Saturday.  Tipoff is at 8:00 p.m. and you can watch the game on ESPNU.

Final box

Postgame notes

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