For the ninth straight season the San Diego State men’s basketball team defeated the University of San Diego Toreros to capture the City Championship, by a score of 57-48 Friday night at Viejas Arena.
While a nine point victory was much more decisive than the one-point win the Aztecs had in 2013, horrid free throw shooting kept them from really pouring it on against the Toreros. In fact, SDSU led the entire game, but its free-throw shooting kept the Toreros within striking distance all night.
SDSU made just 48.1 percent of its free throws, and went into halftime with a meager 33.3 percent. However, senior forward Dwayne Polee II believes that their struggles with free-throws highlights another aspect of the Aztecs, which has been a positive one all season.
“I think (the low free-throw percentage) a testament to our defense,” Polee said in the post-game press conference. “Our whole philosophy is next play. So even if our offense isn’t rolling we are still going to play as hard as we can on defense.”
Polee led the Aztecs with 14 points, and broke out of a shooting slump that has haunted him in the early stages of the season going 2-2 from three-point range, and 5-9 from the field.
It was no surprise that USD senior guard Johnny Dee paced the Toreros on Friday night, much like he has his entire career averaging a team-high 20.5 points-per-game, and in his last career game against the Aztecs the San Diego native out of Rancho Buena Vista High did everything he could to bring home the City Championship scoring a team-high 16 points.
“It’s disappointing to go 0-4 against your cross-town rivals, but it’s definitely a great experience. We’ve played them four times, and they were ranked for three or four of the games,” Dee said in a post-game interview.
While the contract that pits SDSU and USD against each other every season is set to end after this season, Aztecs Head Coach Steve Fisher had some high praise for his cross-town foe, even though they have beaten them nine straight times.
“Don’t disregard San Diego. They’re a good basketball team and they’re going to win a lot of games. We won the game tonight and we’re proud of that fact,” Fisher said in the post-game press conference.
Both team’s will now hit the road to face off against respective Pacific Athletic Conference (Pac-12) team’s this Sunday.
The Toreros (4-4) draw the UCLA Bruins at 4 p.m., and the No. 13/14 Aztecs (6-1) will face off against the Washington Huskies at 6 p.m.