Thursday, February 12, 2009

Big Love Lost in SLC

Three things that are hard for a visitor to get in Utah:

1) A good street taco
2) A Democratic majority
3) A win in basketball

The Aztecs tried to pull a win out of Salt Lake City, and so did the Lakers.  Both came up empty, and both did so by firing blanks late in the game that looked like they were being swatted away by the Angel Moroni.  28% field goal shooting by the Aztecs in the second half, they go from 4 points ahead at halftime to down 12 at the final buzzer, 67-55.  What's surprising in that result is seeing the Aztecs held to 55 points.  SDSU was at 31 points with 2:42 to play in the 1st half and a 7 point lead over the Utes.   Kyle Spain was 4-6 FG for 11pts at that moment and shooting at the line...he missed a FT and then went 1-10 from the field the rest of the way.   

Revisiting yesterday's keys to success...
  • Player in the Spotlight: Ryan Amoroso.  Ammo had done a good job defensively on Luke Nevill in his SDSU career, and that continued last night.  Nevill held to 12 points and 3 rebounds with 4 blocks, a pedestrian game for the all-MWC center.  But on the offensive side of the court, Ryan comes up empty with a 1-for-4 night from the field and just three points.  A disappointing night overall, but he at least gets defensive credit, and it's hard to get a shot if the ball's just in Spain's hands in the 2nd half.  The numbers:
  • Ammo vs. Nevill: Ryan Amoroso plays 25 minutes, 1-4 FGs, 3pts, 8 rebounds, 4 fouls, 2 TOs
  • Nevil vs. Ammo: Luke Nevill plays 31 minutes, 3-7 FGs, 12ptrs, 3 rebounds, 4 BK, 4 fouls, 4 TOs
  • Utah's lesser lights: compared to San Diego State, the Utes' role players were positively celestial.  Borha, Brown and Green combined for 36 points, led by Shaun Green's 7-11 FG, 21 point effort.  The Aztecs' comparative trio of White, Williams and Gay combined for 12 points on 5-14 shooting.  Throw in Ammo, (3pts), Shelton (7pts, a bonus), Matt Thomas (0 points in 9 minutes), and Mehdi Cheriet (to be read in a French accent: zero points! Sacrebleu!), and you STILL aren't within 14 of Utah's second-option scorers.  
  • I'd just like to point out that I accurately predicted Utah's final point total EXACTLY.  Just missed SDSU's by 13.  
Meanwhile, the Lakers ran out of gas and lost up the road at Energy Solutions Arena, 113-109.  I listened to a good part of the 1st half of this game before heading in for my weekly poker night, but I can't say I watched the game.  I know this: any game where Kobe winds up with 33 FG attempts is a danger game for the Lakers.  LA's advantage was down low with Pau but Gasol only got 13 shots, making 7 with 16 points.  

In neither case is the loss a killer.  The Lakers could have been the only team in the NBA with single-digit losses at the All-Star break, but instead they're the only team with 10 losses.  Odom is rebounding like a man possessed, Pau is picking up the slack for Bynum and the kid center is hopeful that his knee will bounce back quickly.  

For the Aztecs, nothing unexpected happened here, in terms of the ebb and flow of the Mountain West conference.  Yes, it's disappointing to play so poorly against a Utes team you are better than, but SDSU will probably get a 3rd crack at Utah on a neutral court in Vegas, and I like their chances.  The Aztecs will take care of Wyoming on Saturday, and then have a week to get ready for a now-critical trip to the Pit in Alberquerque.  Road wins in New Mexico and at TCU would keep the path to the Mountain West conference title alive.  Utah has to go to BYU and New Mexico back-to-back late, which will clearly be a defining stretch.  


  • I've always felt like my local gym was run shabbily.  A regular told me once to never use the jacuzzi, and showed me the ringworm scar which was his proof.  All week, the pool (which I use almost every time I'm there) is drained for cleaning.  OK, good.  But yesterday as I walked up, the whole GYM was closed with yellow tape for "health reasons".  WTF? Oh, but it's supposed to be open again this morning!  I'm sure they've cleaned up that little health risk in one day, no problem.  College Grove gym is pretty nice, as it turns out.  Maybe I'll start going there more often...or just keep going to the place 2 minutes from my house, and wait for the class action lawsuit.  Why does my ear keep itching after all?
  • Each day we are getting closer to something bigger and more exciting in this space.  Stay tuned for more intense and independent local coverage!  As always please feel free to link to me, friend me on Facebook, and get the comments section rolling!


  1. Hey Craig, do you ever cover hockey? I don't know if you've been following them, but the Kings are on pace to narrowly miss the playoffs. This is a hell of an improvement from the last couple years, and with a young team they stand a fine chance of being next years team to barely eke into the playoffs and nonsensically sweep the Sharks. (I guess that would be Vancouver this year, partially because that's the stupidest thing I can think of and therefore bound to happen.)

    Anyway, enjoying the blog a lot so far. Keep it up!

  2. I did get to watch the Laker game last night, and I think one of the bigger issues down the line was the inconsistent calls by the referees. Not to say that they were calling in favor of one team or another, but that they switched up their policy at halftime. In the first half, players were getting away with push-offs and other physical play. In the second half, sweat couldn't switch player without a whistle. While it is the player's job to switch with the calls, the unfortunate side effect was a decent amount of fouls against the Lakers. They were in the penalty with 6:47 to go in the third quarter, for instance. I know every refereeing crew will call things differently, but I would appreciate some in-game consistency.

  3. Also, thinking of other under reported sports, yesterday was a big day in soccer with world cup qualifying. US 2-0 over Mexico. The Republic 2-1 over Georgia. And although England losing 2 nil to Spain was just a friendly, I believe, a day with an Irish victory and an England loss... it had to be a good night in Temple Bar.

  4. As I feared, Green and Bohra came up big last night, just as the Aztecs struggled down the stretch. Man, I hate being right all the time! The road to the conference title won't be easy, but I like our chances better with BYU and UNLV at home rather than on the road. Always seem to play better against those guys at Cox for some reason..........

    As for the Mexico-USA soccer match last night: USA!!! USA!!! USA!!! Man, I HATE the Mexican soccer team (not to be confused with Mexicans in general). They are a bunch of dirty, whiney little bitches, and that incident after the game where Frankie Hejduk got slapped in the face by one of the Mexican assistant coaches shows how truly classless and what poor losers these people are. GAWD how I'd love to beat those LOSERS at Azteca and see them OUT of the World Cup! It would just serve them right!

  5. How do you talk about the SDSU game without mentioning the 18 turnovers? You couldn't have watched the game if you didn't note this... it defined the Aztecs' collapse.

  6. Speaking of whining, I was watching the South Korea Iran match, which for some inexplicable reason FOX Soccer was showing in lieu of the USA match, at least here in Seattle. Anyway anytime SK got a free kick the fans in Tehran started to whistle like... I've been following the sport for over thirty years and I've never heard anything like it for normal free kicks, a controversial penalty sure, but this was just regular play.

  7. I most certainly did watch the game Mr. Anonymous, I watched it this morning. The joys of DVR.

    Yes, the turnovers were brutal. Part of the problem that added up to only 55 points. Several of those TOs in the first half when they could have had a much better lead than 4. Thank you for pointing out an area of omission, I suppose.

    As for hockey and soccer, as it applies or hits my eyes until otherwise appraised. I do think there is some future for the Gulls in SD in some form, and I know the Sockers are coming back and hope to have them integrated into this site.

  8. The gym was shut down for health reasons?!?!? I complained about the very same gym a year and a half ago, questioning how frequently they clean the pool, and I got a some weak response from the corporate office. They said something about how it has a filter that runs every 24 hours. In my opinion, they can filter lint, hair (yuck), and other matter. But if they do clean out that pool as frequently as they said they do, the floor shouldn't feel slimy nor should I when I get out of the water. The Y not too far away cleans their pool weekly.