After a disappointing season in 2016-17 where the San Diego State men’s basketball team failed to make the postseason for the first time in 12 years, the Aztecs earned their first win Friday night under first-year coach Brian Dutcher.
Senior forward Malik Pope led the offense with 20 points in the 91-52 win over San Diego Christian at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs started the night on fire with 10 unanswered points within 2 minutes into the game. Pope scored four of those points, making 2-of-3 attempts.
SDSU went 14-0 before the Hawks scored their first points with a layup by Hayden Fredrick. The game against San Diego Christian, which has played at SDSU for eight straight seasons, is usually a wipeout, but it allowed the NAIA team from suburban Santee a chance to play at a big arena. The Hawks do not have their own gym and usually play their home games at a nearby community college.
Dutcher, who was Steve Fisher’s assistant for the past 18 seasons, took over the program after Fisher retired in April. Fisher was watching in the stand at the season opener — his son is still on staff
Up next, San Diego State will play Arizona State on Tuesday at Viejas Arena. At their last meeting, the Sun Devils beat the Aztecs 74-63.
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