San Diego State rode an 18-0 run before the half to take a commanding lead on the way to an 83-52 blowout win over Creighton at the Las Vegas Invitational Thursday.
The Aztecs, making their second appearance in the invitational, will face Iowa (5-1) at 5 p.m. Friday. Iowa defeated Texas Tech 72-61 in an earlier game at Orleans Arena.
Guard Malachi Flynn led the team with 21 points, followed by forwards Matt Mitchell with 16, and Yanni Wetzell with 15.
Creighton (4-2) trailed 40-25 at the half. Though his team was running on all cylinders, coach Brian Dutcher credited the defense for the runaway win.
“That’s what we’re hanging our hat on,” he said.
In Iowa, Dutcher sees a physical team, but said the Aztecs “have enough size (that) we can counter some of that with our size and strength.”
Going into the game, San Diego State, with a 6-0 record, was already off to its best start since the Kawhi Leonard era when he led the Aztecs to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2011. The team started 20-0 that season.
Through six games, Flynn, a Washington State transfer, leads the team in scoring, 13.3, assists, 5.8 and steals.
In addition, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Week, Wetzell, going into the Creighton game, had averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds over his previous three games.
SDSU competed in the invitational in 2015, where they fell in the championship game to No. 22 West Virginia. They last faced Creighton, then ranked No. 20 in the nation, in the 2013 Wooden Classic, emerging with a 86-80 win.
– Staff reports