The last time the San Diego State men’s basketball team played Fresno State, it lost by 4 points. This time, miscues and turnovers led to the Bulldogs completing a sweep of the Aztecs for the season.
SDSU (13-9, 5-6 Mountain West Conference) had 16 turnovers for 21 points in the 79-61 loss to the Bulldogs (17-8, 7-5) on Tuesday night. Fresno State had won five of the last six games in the series, including a 77-73 win three weeks ago.
“Sixteen turnovers for the game is way too many,” Aztec coach Brian Dutcher said. “We have been passing the ball and sharing it, but we only had seven assists on 25 baskets tonight. A lot of that was Fresno’s game plan and the switches they made.”
Bryson Williams was again a thorn in the Aztecs’ side. He shot 53 percent on the field, added 12 points for the Bulldogs, who led by as many as 23 points in the game.
Miscues by the Aztecs happened early in the game, by halftime, Fresno State held an 11-point lead, 37-26, off 12 SDSU turnovers for 12 points.
“We got frustrated offensively. Like most young teams, we tried to do things too fast,” Dutcher said. “We never caught a rhythm offensively. I told the team I wish I could have helped them more to find something that would get them in a rhythm. We just seemed to be playing at too frantic of a pace and trying to attack too quickly at times.”
Malik Pope scored his second double-double of the season in 23 minutes of play. Pope scored 10 points with 10 rebounds for his ninth career double-double before fouling out early in the second half.
“He only played 23 minutes. I wish we could have had him on the floor longer, but the foul trouble dictated that,” Dutcher said.
Matt Mitchell led SDSU with 16 points. Devin Watson had 14 and Jeremy Hemsley, who’s filling for Trey Kell, added 13 more. Kell was out for his second straight game because of an ankle injury.
With the loss, the Aztecs moved down to eighth place in conference standings — a win would have lifted them up to fifth place because of how tightly packed the middle is in the Mountain West.
SDSU faces a tough road ahead when it travels to Reno to take on conference-leading Nevada on Saturday.