Both San Diego State and USD men’s basketball teams were home this weekend but only one managed to capture a win.
The Toreros (7-2) easily downed Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, 79-51, Saturday at Jenny Craig Pavillion. USD shut down the Jacks (2-8) early with a 26-3 lead within 11 minutes of play. Heading into the half, the Toreros were leading, 38-18, off 11 points from Cameron Neubauer and 10 from Isiah Pineiro.
“We talked about how we would approach this game coming off a big win at New Mexico State,” coach Lamont Smith said. “Would we be eager for competition and have a high energy to our approach? It showed a sign of maturity for our ball club. We respect all of our opponents and I thought our guys came out and competed and did it the right way on both sides of the ball.”
At the start of the second half, USD extended its lead to 29 points with a 9-0 run to make it 46-18. The Toreros biggest lead was 33 at 55-22 and the closest the Jacks got was within 20 points following a 16-3 run at 58-38.
Led by Neubauer, USD finished the game with 13 3-pointers with Neubauer making 4-of-5 shots from long distance. Up next, the Toreros head to Boulder, Colorado to face the Buffalos on Tuesday.
San Diego State Hoops
While USD easily dispatched its opponent, the same couldn’t be said for San Diego State. The Aztecs (7-3) lost to the Cal Bears, 63-62, Sunday at Viejas Arena. It was a hard loss for the Aztecs, which snapped a four-game winning streak against the Bears (4-6).
Cal, who just came off a 27-point home loss to Central Arkansas, managed to hang on for the win after blowing a 14-point lead. The Aztecs were slowly chipping away at the Bears’ lead in the second half when the game at a little physical.
As Jalen McDaniels made a layup to close the lead to 55-49 with 9:42 left, Cal’s Don Coleman and Malik Pope were tangled on the floor at the other end. As they untangled, Coleman kicked Pope and both were called for a personal foul. The San Diego State crowd wasn’t too happy about that and Coleman was booed for the remaining 9 1/2 minutes every time he touched the ball.
”It was just physical, a lot of emotions. He’s a chippy player, which is expected,” Pope said. “Can only respect it, but I got a little kick down there; a little retaliation by me, which is just a mental breakdown that hurt us. It wasn’t really anything serious. I was hoping we got the ball but you know, stuff happens.”
The Aztecs had a 62-58 lead after Jeremy Hemsley made one of two free throws with 50.5 seconds left. But a turnover cost SDSU the game. Devin Watson fouled Juhwan Harris-Dyson on a layup and Harrison-Dyson made both free throws. Hemsley valiantly tried to make a 3-pointer at the buzzer but missed.
“I told them after the game that win or lose I was going to say this, and I’ve been saying this: the next 12 days before our next game are going to determine how good we’re going to be as a team,” Aztec coach Brian Dutcher said. “And I said I would’ve delivered the same message had we won a close game. We obviously have work to do, every team in the country does, but I like my team and I like how hard they’re working. They’re supposed to be disappointed over this game. I’m disappointed, but we have to move on and we have 12 days to get ready for a very good Gonzaga team on the 21st. We will be ready to respond and use these days to our advantage.”
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