In Maui, the Aztecs (4-2) lost to then-No. 1 Duke then rallied back to beat Xavier only to be routed by the Cyclones the next day. Coming back home, SDSU was playing with a chip on its shoulder against the road-weary Tigers (1-6). Jackson State lost to USD on Saturday.
“We always want to play with a chip on our shoulder,” Aztecs forward Matt Mitchell said. “We want to leave it in the past but never forget that it happened and forget that we are inconsistent a little bit and so moving forward we know we need to be better.”
The Aztecs jumped to a quick 9-0 with a trio of 3-pointers from Jeremy Hemsley, Mitchell and Devin Watson that forced the Tigers to call a timeout. After the timeout, Jalen McDaniels scored on a jumper to extend the lead to 11-0 before Jackson State made its first basket on a reverse layup by Venji Wallis.
“(Jackson State) is a team that I know is not ranked very high, but I just watched them play USD to the last eight, nine minutes of the game,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said. “I watched them play Boise to a close game into the second half. It was no small feat to come out and do what we did. People just expect it, but we played pretty well to create opportunities.”
In the first half alone, San Diego State forced 16 turnovers and had a season-high of 10 steals. It ended the game with 23 turnovers and 13 steals.
Jordan Schakel and Mitchell led the Aztecs with 15 points apiece in the 87-44 win, which was the biggest victory margin against a Division I team since the 138-93 win over United States International University on Feb. 20, 1986.
McDaniels added 14 points, Nolan Narain 11 and Devin Watson 10.
“They’re a big, athletic team. They push the ball up the floor, good in transition,” Tigers coach Wayne Brent said of the Aztecs. “Those first five guys all can dribble, pass and score, so it’s hard to lock into one guy because they’ve got so many guys in their first five who can score the ball. They’ve got a lot of firepower in that first five.”
The Aztecs have used the same starting lineup every game so far this season.
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