#24 Aztecs Take Down #23 Sun Devils 80-68 in Tempe
San Diego State now leads the NCAA with 13 straight road victories.
Jordan Schakel was ON FIRE sinking five 3’s, and finishing the night with a career high 25 points and 6 rebounds
Tempe, AZ — The San Diego State Aztecs (5-0) defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils (3-2) 80-68 in Tempe, Arizona. The Aztecs now have 13 straight road wins, the best in NCAA basketball.
Tonight’s victory against a talented and dangerous Sun Devils team is another statement win for Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs who have not lost a step from last season even after losing Malachi Flynn, Yanni Wetzell and KJ Feagin.
Coach Dutcher and Sun Devils Coach Bobby Hurley have competed since Dutcher was an assistant coach for Michigan’s Fab Five and Hurley was a star guard at Duke. Today, there is nothing but respect between the two.
The Aztecs won on the road in light of having to leave three players behind over contact tracing concerns.
San Diego State dominated with offensive rebounds giving them plenty of second-chance shots to help secure the win. Nathan Mensah was stellar with 17 points and 15 offensive rebounds and plenty of put-backs. Jordan Schakel was IN THE ZONE all night making 5 of 9 three-pointers behind the arc, picking up rebounds, and driving for layups, mid range jumpers and finger rolls. Schakel had a career best night with 25 points.
The only thing that kept the Sun Devils neck at neck for much of the game was lights-out three point shooting. ASU was led by Alonzo Verge, Jr. who managed a career high SEVEN three-pointers, finishing the night with 25 points of his own. As a team ASU struggled in the paint for most of the night. The Aztecs were relentless on defense; they overwhelmed the Sun Devils and forced the ASU to work the perimeter.
The Sun Devils did not start off on a good foot. The Aztecs jumped into a 14-2 lead, that included eight early points by Jordan Schakel. The Sun Devils rallied back but trailed the Aztecs until around 6:45 left in the first half.
Then, a relatively subdued Remy Martin took his first shot and sank a DEEP 3 pointer to register the Sun Devils’ first lead of the game at 26-25.
During the last five minutes of the first half the lead changed six times, but Schakel’s sharp shooting and Nathan Mensah’s agile and dominant play led to the Aztecs ending the half leading 35-33.
At the start of the second half the Aztecs turned the ball over in the inbound pass, but recovered with Trey Pulliam hitting an ABA-style floater. Verge hit back-to-back three’s giving the Sun Devils a 39-37 lead.
ASU led 43-41 with 16:22 remaining in the game before the Aztecs went on a 19-4 run to put a hammer down in the contest. In that span, the Sun Devils did not make a field goal for over eight minutes and struggled to make plays in the half court, which was also something they struggled with in their loss to then-No. 3 Villanova in the first week of the season.
The Sun Devils have struggled to rebound the basketball through the early part of the season and that trend continued against San Diego State who out-rebounded them 44-37 including a 26-17 edge in the first half.
The Aztecs capitalized on nearly every opportunity with 11 offensive rebounds , 17 second-chance points and 36 points in the paint. Mensah had a double-double by halftime. Schakel was unstoppable.
The Sun Devils were led by senior guard Verge, with his 25 points on 8-of-20 shooting.
After ranking among the top-10 teams nationally in offensive efficiency to start the season, ASU made just 20-of-58 (34.5 percent) of its shot attempts on Thursday and had TWO second-half stretches in which it failed to make a field goal for over four minutes.
San Diego State faces BYU next at home on December 18th.