SDSU Starts The Season With An Easy Victory Over San Diego Christian
The Aztecs dominate the Hawks en route to a victory
San Diego State started their season off right, with a 91-52 win over San Diego Christian
San Diego State defeated San Diego Christian in their home opener by a score of 91-52. This was the first win for Coach Brian Dutcher after spending 30 plus years as an assistant coach. Playing an under matched and undersized NAIA opponent, the Aztecs big men were able to impose their will down low. 6-10 forward Malik Pope led all scorers with 20 points on 9-11 shooting and also added six rebounds.
The Aztecs flew out of the gates and quickly built a 14-0 lead on the Hawks as the first unit, which included true freshman Matt Mitchell who was making his first start, pushed the tempo and pressed San Diego Christian into mistakes. From there on San Diego State was dominant, however they were far from perfect. After turning the ball over six times in each of their first two games, they turned it over 11 times including six in the first half. It was something that the team was very aware of after the first 20 minutes.
“Yeah, that was a big focus for us at halftime. Dutcher said, ‘We already had six and we got six in the first two games together.’ We’re honestly trying to lock in on that every position. When we got seven, we were like, ‘We can’t get seven.’ Then there were eight. It’s just play by play and trying to stay focused.” Pope said.
The Aztecs had another balanced scoring day. Aside from Pope only guard Jeremy Hemsley finished in double figures scoring 10 points on 4-5 shooting. Five players scored between seven to nine points. Forward Nolan Narain set a career high with nine points and seven rebounds while not missing a shot, going 4-4 from the field.
Defensively the Aztecs were improved, however they went through spurts where they seemed to be out of sorts on the defensive end. Perimeter defense had been an issue in the scrimmage against UCSD, but it seemed like the Aztecs are making strides in that area.
“I thought our defense was better at the start of the game. I thought toward the end there were guys running around, we weren’t matched up, I didn’t know if we knew who we were guarding, just kind of scrambling down the floor picking up a body. That can’t happen in games. That was maybe a product of the score and the situation at the end. I thought they got a little sloppy in their matchups. But I thought they played hard all the way to the end,” Coach Dutcher said after the game.
The Aztecs face a tougher opponent in their next game as they head down to Tempe, Arizona to face Arizona State. Last season the Aztecs lost at home to the Sun Devils and will be looking to get a road win against a PAC-12 team. The two teams face off on Tuesday, November 14th at 6 pm PST.