Aztecs Best Illinois State 75-65
The Aztecs controlled rebounding; Jalen McDaniels got the early McDouble-double, and Watson and Hemsley came alive.
The Aztecs took command and picked up a quality road win at Illinois State against the tenacious Redbirds.
Normal, IL– The Illinois State Redbirds were dressed to thrill in red-and-white-striped shorts with vintage jerseys as they channeled their inner Harlem Globetrotters.
No matter. The Aztecs were able to control the the tempo of this match from early in the first half at coaching legend Steve Fisher’s alma mater, leading for most of the half by approximately eight.
Early on Jalen McDaniels helped the Aztecs dominate the glass. Matt Mitchell picked up two early fouls and spent a good part of the first half off the court. Devin Watson and Jeremy Hemsley lit up the perimeter.
By halftime, the Aztecs had a 26-17 advantage on the boards and a 9-2 advantage on fast-break points. But their halftime lead was only 37-32.
Former Aztecs coach Steve Fisher was sitting behind the SDSU bench with family. Fisher played basketball (#31) at Illinois State in the late 1960s, and was inducted into the Illinois State University Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Aztecs’ lead widened considerably in the second half, although the Redbirds fought to keep within ten of the Aztecs at times.
Devin Watson had the hot hand finishing with 23 points and 7 assists, while Jeremy Hemsley scored 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists- and one wild slam dunk on a fast break (that earned a technical foul for hanging on the rim). Jalen McDaniels finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds, finishing with another double-double.
Illinois State as a team shot just 31 percent overall and 5 for 24 from three-point land. Rising Redbirds star forward Milik Yarbrough also finished with a double-double making 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The Aztecs return to San Diego to face the USD Toreros on December 5th.