Matthew Lickona 4 p.m., May 26
Aztecs hurt by sun in eyes, wind, and tall Syracuse players in Battle of the Midway loss
SDSU and Syracuse faced off on the USS Midway aircraft carrier in an event dubbed ‘Battle on the Midway.’ The Aztecs lost to Syracuse 62-49 in a game that saw SDSU shoot 27% from the field and only make 1-18 from three point land. Their free throw shooting was not much better with the Aztecs shooting 42% on 33 attempts. The conditions were not ideal, but both teams experienced the same conditions and the Aztecs were unable to adjust.
The conditions weren’t good. The Aztecs spent the first half shooting directly into the sun. At the half they were down 14 points and though they played much better offensively in the second half, the gap was too large to overcome. Besides shooting into the sun, the breeze seemed a bit stronger in the first half, possibly explaining the lower scoring first half.
Free throws and 3 point shooting killed the Aztecs. At one point in the first half, the Aztecs were 1-11 shooting free throws. They finished the game stronger going 14-33 from the line. They were absolutely dismal shooting 3 point shots as well. They shot roughly 5% from beyond the arc. It’s tough to win games when shooting that poorly.
Syracuse is much taller than SDSU. Had the game been played later in the year, when James Johnson becomes eligible, it may not have been as apparent. However, Syracuse blocked 10 shots and altered another 10 more, at minimum. Their zone defense is predicated on height and once again it worked in their favor.