San Diego State didn’t play NAIA San Diego Christian at Viejas Arena on Tuesday as planned.
It did play a game, however, or at least half of one.
The Aztecs played 20 minutes against themselves Tuesday morning, having eight healthy regulars face the scout team running UNLV sets and defenses ahead of the Jan. 1 conference opener against the Rebels in Las Vegas. The regulars won 39-27.
“There was some good and some bad,” coach Brian Dutcher said. “I just wanted to get some game timing back, to have a game feel. There are things to work on. You always see something you need to get better at.”
The good: The offense scored with more efficiency, and it wasn’t like the players were facing 5-foot-10 walk-ons fresh off the intramural court. SDSU’s scout team features three players who have or had Division I scholarships, three who are 6-9 or taller, and three others who are 6-4 or taller.
The bad: Not scrimmaging was sophomore guard Lamont Butler, who is still awaiting full medical clearance after fracturing his left wrist on Nov. 30 against Long Beach State.
The initial prognosis was four weeks, and Tuesday was exactly four weeks. Butler was scheduled for an X-ray later in the day that will determine his status for UNLV. He spent Tuesday on the other court at the JAM Center doing fitness drills, out of his cast but wearing a brace that extended to his elbow and preventing him from using his left hand.
“If doctor’s think he’s ready to go, we’ll get him in a brace and start practicing him,” Dutcher said. “I’m hopeful he plays Saturday but he’d play in a (smaller) brace. We have to wait for the X-rays. The one a week ago looked like it was healing pretty well. We’ll see what this one looks like. Obviously, we need him back but we’re not going to rush him back unless the doctors feel it’s safe for him to play.”
The Mountain West season opened Tuesday night with Fresno State playing at Boise State, but COVID has already taken its toll on the early conference schedule.
Colorado State at New Mexico was postponed after the 20th-ranked Rams reported an outbreak involving nine players and four staff members, and San Jose State scrapped its first three conference games for the same reason. Nevada, the Spartans’ scheduled opponent on Wednesday, found a replacement for the same day — at No. 6 Kansas, which was looking for someone to play after Harvard pulled out.
San Jose State also will skip games against Utah State (Jan. 1) and UNLV (Jan. 5), meaning it will go a full three weeks without playing. CSU (10-0) missed games against Tulsa, No. 19 Alabama and now New Mexico. Its next game is expected to be Jan. 4 against Air Force.
Senior guard Adam Seiko had his streak of made 3-pointers reach a staggering 10 over a mere four halves — 3 of 3 in the second half against Cal State Fullerton, 4 of 4 against Saint Mary’s in Phoenix and 3 of 3 in the first half against UC San Diego last Wednesday.
“I knew I was at seven straight (entering the night),” said Seiko, who opened the season 5 of 21 from deep. “I wasn’t thinking about that during the game, but then one of the managers told me I was at 10 straight. Then I missed one, and he was like, ‘Dang, you messed up your streak.’
“It’s all right. It was a good, little streak. It feels good to see shots go in.”
Junior forward Keshad Johnson had the opposite kind of streak, missing his first nine attempts beyond the arc this season and going 14 games (including the end of last season) without making one.
With 1:36 left against UCSD, he did.
“Of course, missing can get disappointing,” Johnson said. “But that’s basketball. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. I’ve been working all my life. I know I can shoot. You just have to get out of the drought, stay in the gym. Today one fell. And they’re going to keep falling in the future.”
Byrd’s Lincoln loses
Stockton’s Lincoln High and SDSU signee Miles Byrd fell 51-49 in overtime against San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty in the quarterfinals of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic. A day after having 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, Byrd was held to seven points in the loss as Lincoln (7-2) blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. Lincoln next plays at 5:25 p.m. on Wednesday at Torrey Pines High.