No Heat Check—Matt Bradley Burns Air Force in SDSU Mountain West Opener

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Tyler Perches
Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA

After having eight days off, for Christmas holiday break, the Aztecs were looking forward to starting the conference season with a bang. The Aztecs, for sure accomplished that by beating the visiting Air Force Falcons by 16,  the score 71-55 in front of a sold-out 12,414 at Viejas arena.

Overall, head coach Brian Dutcher’s team shot 49%(24-49) from the field, 47.8%(11-23) from three point range, and 66.7%(12-18) from the free throw line. There were some stretches that the Aztecs couldn’t miss, especially from the three-point range. There was one Aztec, in particular, who had a really amazing game. 

The player of the game was guard Matt Bradley. Bradley had a phenomenal game scoring 27 points, which led the Aztecs and was the only aztec to score in double figures.  Bradley shot 9-12 from the field, which included making 6 three-pointers, and only missed one.  

Bradley really started the Aztecs on the right footing. In the first half, despite some scoring droughts from the team, Bradley was the go-to scorer.

In the opening half, Bradley put up 13 points, shot 5-7 from the field, and knocked down all three of his three-point attempts. In the second half, Bradley continued to be hot by adding to his total by scoring an additional 14 and finishing with 27. 

He made a variety of different types of shots throughout the game. Some step-back shots from both the two-point variety and from long distance. Some catch-and-shoot threes, and also made some buckets by driving to the basket. 

Another Aztec who had a very solid game was forward Keshad Johnson. Johnson scored 9 points while shooting 3-6 from the field, and also knocking down 3 free throws. Johnson also added 5 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.  

Johnson did a pretty good job when getting the opportunities of pushing the ball, especially in transition. Keshad continued his great defense on the season and did an amazing job of switching when guarding smaller players. If Keshad continues to play well it will really solidify the Aztecs chances of accomplishing their goal of winning the conference. 

In addition, another great outing on the night was by guard Adam Seiko. Off the bench, Seiko scored 9 points, all coming from beyond the arc. 

When the Falcons were looking to cut the deficit under double digits, that’s when Seiko really came up huge. Especially with about 10 minutes left in the game when Seiko hit a three to put the Aztecs up by 13, 53 to 40. That was the closest Air Force got to beating the Aztecs. 

The Aztecs had as usual, an outstanding performance on the defensive side of the ball. SDSU allowed the Falcons to only score 55 points on the night, and held them to shoot only 42.9% from the field, and 36.4% from beyond the arc.

SDSU used their height, and physicality to their advantage by bothering Air Force and forcing them into bad shots. Also dominated the boards, SDSU out-rebounded Air Force by 10.

More specifically Aztecs ended up with 9 offensive rebounds that allowed the lead to stay at double figures. 

There was one Air Force player that stood out with a good game. That player was 6’4 guard Jeffrey Mills. Mills was the only Air Force player to score in double figures ending up with 10 points on 4-6 shooting from the field and 2-3 from beyond the arc. 

The Aztecs next face UNLV(11-2) on Saturday, December 31st at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The game tips off at 1:00pm and is nationally broadcasted on CBS. 

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