This was not the start to the conference season that coach Steve Fisher envisioned.
His Aztecs fell to 0-2 in the Mountain West after losing to Nevada for the first time since 1999 by a score of 72-69.
The main reason the Aztecs lost was that they struggled to keep the Wolfpack from picking up second chance points.
Cameron Oliver (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Jordan Caroline (19 points, 11 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles for Nevada and capitalized multiple times after the Aztecs thought they had come up with a defensive stop.
Their presence in the paint and especially on the offensive glass was a huge problem for SDSU.
Nevada collected 14 offensive boards and outrebounded SDSU by a dozen (46 to 34).
On the bright side, Jeremy Hemsley was a one-man wrecking crew.
The SDSU sophomore guard knocked down six of his 12 three-point attempts and finished with a career-high 30 points. Hemsley single-handedly kept the Aztecs in the game, but they were playing catchup most of the evening.
There is another silver lining to the Aztecs early struggles this week. SDSU opened up with arguably the toughest two opponents in the entire conference.
SDSU was picked to finish 1st in the MW preseason conference poll and began league play against Nevada (picked to finish 2nd) and New Mexico (predicted to finish 3rd).
So if those rankings hold true to form, there’s no shame in coming up a few points short against the top teams in the league.
Nevada is also coached by Eric Musselman, a University of San Diego graduate who played for the Toreros from 1983-1987.
Musselman’s impact is apparent as he has the Wolfpack off to a 13-3 start in his second year in Reno.
However, the lack of fluidity on offense is concerning for the Aztecs.
Hemsley bailed out his teammates a number of times Wednesday but aside from his jump shots and long bombs from behind the arc, SDSU struggled to get into a rhythm when attacking with the basketball.
Back at Viejas Arena, the SDSU women’s basketball team won its first home game, 83-78 over Nevada.
McKenzie Fort led the way with a career-high 22 points and team-best six assists and six rebounds.
The women’s team hosts Boise State Saturday at 2 p.m. while the men’s squad will play the Broncos in Idaho at 8 p.m.