No. 15 Aztecs Quell Cal Poly 73-57 To Become 13-0
Cal Poly gives SDSU an early run for the money during the first half before the Aztecs break the game open for another dominant win.
The dynamic Aztecs went undefeated in regular season non-conference play against many formidable foes.
San Diego, CA- San Diego State (13-0, 2-0 MW) started off firing on no cylinders at Viejas Arena for nearly ten minutes of the first half against a surprisingly determined Cal Poly Mustangs (2-11, 0-0 BW). The Aztecs ultimately shifted gears to pull ahead and handily win 73-57.
The Aztecs played lackadaisical basketball for nearly ten minutes, including matching, painful air balls from Yanni Wetzell and KJ Feagin.
SDSU pulled ahead to an 18-8 lead before the Mustangs shocked Viejas Arena fans by closing a 10-point deficit to take a 23-22 lead after Alimamy Koroma made two free throws with 2:41 before the half.
At that, the Aztecs decided enough was enough.
And just like that, SDSU locked and loaded with 1:40 left to go in the half going on a 9-0 lead to enter halftime with a 31-23 lead.
After Matt Mitchell missed a 3-pointer, Koroma rebounded but Wetzell stole the ball and scored. Malachi Flynn and Jordan Schakel had layups, and then Matt Mitchell flushed Flynn’s missed 3 with a powerful dunk, and was fouled before making his free throw.
According to Schakel, Wetzell’s steal and score “gave us a lot of energy. I heard the crowd get back into it.”
After leading 31-23 at the half, the Aztecs found their rhythm. Flynn sank two long range 3’s, including a bank shot. Feagin also hit a long range shot well behind the perimeter. Wetzell made three shots in the paint to help the Aztecs pull ahead to 50-31.
During the second half they continued to dominate, ultimately winning 73-57 and keeping their undefeated streak alive.
Said coach Brian Dutcher, “I thought our energy was good, we just couldn’t make a shot. We had some open looks. We shared the ball, and when the ball’s not going in all of a sudden it becomes a challenge. Cal Poly played physical. They played a very good first half, had a lead late in the first half and then we made some energy plays. We went on enough runs to build a comfortable lead in the second half and come out with a victory.”
“I told them our goal was to have an undefeated December,” he said. “We did that. So we’ve got to take great pleasure in that.”
Malachi Flynn produced 14 points, while Yanni Wetzell and Jordan Schakel contributed 12 points apiece.
SDSU is experiencing its best start since 2010-11, when it went 20-0 with Kawhi Leonard and ultimately reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time ever before ending the season at 34-3.
For Cal Poly Kyle Colvin managed 13 points and Junior Ballard added 12 for the Mustangs. Alimamy Koroma had 12 boards. It was hard to believe that Cal Poly has only won two games this season, given their aggressive play at Viejas.
SDSU forced a season-high 23 turnovers in this game.
The Aztecs completed an undefeated non-conference schedule (11-0) for just the second time in the last 89 seasons.
Signature wins include BYU followed by Creighton and Iowa to win the Las Vegas Invitational, and against Utah at Staples Center in Los Angeles. These victories will promote an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament in case the Aztecs don’t win the Mountain West Championship auto-bid.
SDSU returns to Mountain West conference play, hosting Fresno State on Wednesday. SDSU is 2-0 so far in the MWC.