Men's Basketball Heads to Tempe to Face Arizona State
Nov. 12, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES
* SDSU is in search of its second win in as many tries after defeating San Diego Christian, 91-52, on Friday night at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs have not opened a campaign with a 2-0 record since the 2014-15 season.
* The Aztecs won their 12th straight season-opener in what was head coach Brian Dutcher’s first game at the helm of the program. It marked the first time someone other than the recently retired Steve Fisher was San Diego State’s head coach since Feb. 27, 1999.
* San Diego State is 1-0 after using a balanced attack to dismiss San Diego Christian. Eight different Aztecs scored at least six points and no player logged more than 24 minutes. As a team, SDSU shot 56.1 percent from the field and 71.0 percent from the charity stripe, while holding the Hawks to 32.8-percent shooting and only four free-throw attempts. The Aztecs have won 59 straight games when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
* Leading the way in the opener for SDSU was senior Malik Pope. The forward, who averaged 13.1 points and 7.1 rebounds over the final 14 games of 2016-17, connected on nine of his 11 attempts from the floor to finish with a game-high 20 points to go with six rebounds. It was Pope’s fourth-career 20-point effort and he was two points shy of matching his career high.
* Returning starter Jeremy Hemsley came off the bench and was a steady force, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and dishing six assists against one turnover. He also shared game-high honors in steals (3) with junior newcomer Devin Watson.
* San Diego State’s starters set the tone for the game after scoring the first 14 points of the game, despite 60 percent of the starting group having never played an official game for the Aztecs. Outside of Pope and Trey Kell, who owns the most starting experience of anyone on the roster (86 career starts), Dutcher called on Watson, an all-WCC first-team transfer from San Francisco, graduate transfer Kameron Rooks (California) and true freshman Matt Mitchell to round out his first-ever starting five.
* The Aztecs had six new players overall take the floor for them on opening night. In addition to Watson (8 points), Rooks (4 points, 3 rebounds) and Mitchell (6 points, game-high 8 rebounds, 2 steals), SDSU had redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels contribute five rebounds and a game-high two blocked shots, true freshman Jordan Schakel score seven points and walk-on Michael Sohikish add four points in three minutes.
* As much as the Aztecs received from their newcomers, the returners’ efforts should not go unnoticed. Kell, in just 18 minutes, made all three of his attempts, including both three-pointers, junior Max Montana connected on all four of his free-throw tosses and Nolan Narain shot 100 percent (4-for-4) from the floor and added a career-high seven rebounds. Each member of the trio scored nine points. Junior Montaque Gill-Caesar, meanwhile, scored three points in nine minutes in his first game action of any kind (close scrimmage and exhibition) since going through the school’s concussion protocol.
* San Diego State, with its blend of veterans and rookies, head to the desert looking to avenge last season’s home loss to the Sun Devils. The Aztecs led by seven points at halftime and saw the cushion evaporate in a matter of 129 seconds after ASU opened with a 9-2 run that featured a trio of treys. At the final horn, the scoreboard read: Arizona State 74, San Diego State 63.