The USD-San Diego State basketball game Wednesday was not some great crosstown rivalry between the two schools, though it might soon be.
The 73-61 win was also the first time the Toreros had beaten the Aztecs at San Diego State since 2000. The series had been so lopsided that the Aztecs don’t even consider it a rivalry.
At first, everything seemed like everything was going the way it’s always been. USD was losing 33-26 at halftime. The Toreros missed their first seven field attempts. But something happened in the second half. USD came alive starting with Alex Floresca’s 3-pointer 18 seconds into the half.
Isaiah Wright and Finn Sullivan added treys of their own and the Toreros got their first lead of the night, 39-38, when Isaiah Pineiro sank his two free throws off a technical foul from Devin Watson.
“One of the things I’ve liked so much about this group so far is, not once have we ever panicked. There’s been a lot of different situations through the course of the season,” Toreros coach Sam Scholl said. “We’ve been in down seven, down eight — at U-Dub, at Ole Miss — and never once have our guys panicked. We certainly haven’t done something great, but we’ve never panicked. When we went into the locker room, we just trust our reps and trust each other.”
The Toreros were hot on the 3-point line in the second half with five different players sinking treys in the first six minutes alone. That was not the case in the first half where they missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts. USD outscored SDSU 47-28 in the second half. The Toreros also outrebounded the Aztecs 32-30.
“I think the guys got frustrated the second half,” Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher. “And that’s the way basketball works. When the ball doesn’t go in and you’re not shooting very well, you get frustrated at the defensive end. We just didn’t score enough.”
Devin Watson scored a game-high 22 points for the Aztecs, Matt Mitchell added 13 and McDaniels 12.
Pineiro led the Toreros with 21 points while Isaiah Wright added 18 and Olin Carter III contributed 10.
Up next, USD faces Cal State Northridge on Sunday while SDSU takes on Cal on Saturday.