The Aztecs were down 37-26 at halftime at Steve Fisher Court but rallied back with an 18-0 run for the 68-63 win, their 26th consecutive exhibition win.
During the run, which started in the last 1:28 of the first time and ended after the first 7:15 of the second half, Chaminade was 0-for-10 with six turnovers, while calling three timeouts.
“Well, I said in my press conference this week that the defense was ahead of the offense, and I was proved to be correct,” Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher said. “I’ve got to do a better making the D perform offensively. We tried to press our games too much and the ball didn’t move freely.”
The Aztecs were outrebounded 35-32 and were only 31.3 percent on field goals but they managed to sink more free throws and outscored Chaminade 36-20 in the paint, which was key to its thin victory.
“I know it’s early in the year and I’ve got a young team. There’s always a learning curve,” Dutcher said. “I knew going in, offensively, we’re not where we need to be, so I’ve got a lot of work to do to help these guys in a better position to make plays, and that’s more on me than it is them.”
All five of SDSU starters are returning players, but only two are seniors. The rest are starting their sophomore year.
San Diego State scored the first seven points of the game and held the Silverswords scoreless until the 15:46 mark but Chaminade clawed back for a 16-15 lead on a Tyler Cartaino 3-pointer at the 8:26 mark.
Devin Watson answered back with a trey of his own but the Silverswords went on 21-8 blitz over the next 6:18, sinking five 3-pointers during that stretch for their biggest lead of the game, 37-26 with 1:41 left before the half. Three of those five treys were by Grant Dresslers, who led Chaminade in scoring with 18 points.
“We view them as a high, major team,” Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said. “To be able to come in as a Division II team that just started practice 12 days ago — or whatever it’s been — and to come in here and hang with a really good team like that. I’m proud of our guys.”
Jorden Schakel and Matt Mitchell led SDSU in scoring with 16 points each. Jalen McDaniels and Jeremy Hemsley were the next two highest point scorers with 14 and 11, respectively. McDaniels also had a game-high seven rebounds — tied with his teammate Nolan Narain.
Mitchell and Watson each had four assists, Watson also had four steals on the night.
“I feel, just as coach said, offensively we didn’t flow enough,” Mitchell said. “It was hard for us to score in the first half.”
Andre Arissol was the only other Chaminade player to reach double digits in scoring with 13 points.
Up next, the Aztecs open their season against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday at Viejas Arena. Tip off is at 7 p.m.
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