San Diego State home basketball games are starting to feel like they did back in the Kawhi Leonard era, when a packed Viejas Arena rocked and the Aztecs reached the Sweet 16 for the first time.
This time, it’s a trio of transfers leading the No. 7 Aztecs back into national prominence. New Zealander Yanni Wetzell stepped up with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds Saturday night for SDSU, which got hot in the second half and beat Nevada 68-55 to remain the nation’s only undefeated team.
The Aztecs pulled within one of the best opening streak in school history, a 20-0 run led by Leonard in 2010-11. That team finished a school-best 34-3.
With fellow big man Nathan Mensah missing his sixth straight game with a respiratory ailment, Wetzell had his best game with SDSU.
“I was just that much more extra aggressive,” said Wetzell, a graduate transfer from Vanderbilt. “We were down a couple at half and I knew that as a fifth-year senior I had to step up and try to lead these guys a little. I was just trying to be as aggressive as I can on the boards.”
Wetzell’s only mistake, it seemed, was an inadvertent tip-in that gave Nevada its only points during a 17-2 Aztecs run in the second half.
“Technically he had 19 points; just two for the other team,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher cracked.