NCAA Basketball SDSU
Malachi Flynn celebrates after making a key 3-pointer in the Aztecs’ win over Iowa. Photo credit: Screenshot, @Aztec_MBB, via Twitter

San Diego State overcame a shaky first half, led by Malachi Flynn who scored 28 as the Aztecs took the crown at the Las Vegas Invitational, beating Iowa 83-73.

Down by as many as 16, the Aztecs nonetheless pulled closer at the break, trailing 41-32.

They were hampered by a dozen turnovers, which the Hawkeyes converted for 15 points. Coach Brian Dutcher said he made that a focus in the locker room as he addressed his team.

“We talked about having 12 turnovers. That’s not in our nature,” he said.

The momentum that narrowed the deficit at the half, though, carried over as play resumed and the Aztecs surged.

“We have a grit about us,” Dutcher said. “When we got down we were able to fight back.“

With the win, San Diego State improved to 8-0, their best start since 2010. They lead the Mountain West, yet Utah State, also undefeated going into a late game Thursday, have kept pace.

Flynn powered the Aztecs to the comeback, scoring all of his 28 points in the second half, along with going 9-for-9 from the free throw line. His goal with his team trailing, he said, was to “pretty much be aggressive as much as I could.”

Jordan Shackel and Yanni Wetzell followed Flynn, posting 14 points apiece. Organizers named Flynn tournament MVP, while Shackel and Wetzell made the All-Tournament Team.

San Diego State faced Iowa for the first time, a day after dismantling Creighton at the invitational, 83-52. They next travel to play Colorado State at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

– Staff reports