San Diego State men’s basketball team defeated old conference rival BYU 92-87 in the opening round Monday of the Maui Invitational. With the win, Steve Fisher earned his 500th victory as a head coach.
The Cougars, however, would make Fisher earn that win. Their lights out shooting (43.3 three-point percentage) forced the No. 16 Aztecs into a double-overtime showdown.
SDSU improved on their shooting struggles to begin the season (48.6 percent field goal percentage on the night) and led BYU for nearly every minute of regulation in the rebirth of an old Mountain West Conference rivalry.
It was the Aztecs free-throw percentage, however, that helped the Cougars claw back into the game. The Aztecs made 61.3 percent of their free throws plus the two misses from senior forward Dwaynee Polee II in the waning minutes of the game helped open the door for a three-pointer from BYU senior guard Tyler Haws — who led the Cougars with 26 points — that forced the first overtime.
In the first overtime, BYU jumped out in front and led by as much as five points with less than two minutes left.
The Aztecs would cut the lead to three with less than a minute to go. Senior guard Aqeel Quinn launched a three from the corner, but it was blocked by BYU.
Quinn quickly stole the ball back, stepped back into the corner and hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to force the second overtime.
SDSU took control of the game in the second overtime en route to capturing their highest point total of the season (92).
For the second time this season, Quinn led the Aztecs in points, as he notched 21 points off the bench on Monday — a career high — and hit six three-pointers, which also led the team.
Junior guard Winston Shepard had a nice night as well, scoring a season-high 18 points, while grabbing 8 rebounds, which was also a season-high.
SDSU (4-0) will now face off against Pittsburgh in the second round of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday, and tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The game can be watched on ESPN, as well as heard on the Mighty 1090 AM.