The Aztecs (7-3) had been aware that the St. Mary’s (10-3) team they faced might have revenge on its mind, after their 74-49 drubbing of the Gaels last year. Saint Mary’s also logged big wins over Notre Dame and Oregon last month.
San Diego State led by as many as six early, but Saint Mary’s briefly took the lead before the break. But Keshad Johnson made a layup with just over a minute to go to put the Aztecs up 26-25.
SDSU came out hot after the half to take a six-point lead on a Matt Bradley layup and two three-pointers by Adam Seiko.
After going ahead 46-35, though, Saint Mary’s got back into the game, climbing to within one point with 7:33 to play. The Aztecs rebuilt their lead from the line, as Johnson hit two free throws and Bradley three, and SDSU kept the game out of the Gaels’ reach from that point on.
The Aztecs had a balanced attack, as Trey Pulliam scored 15, followed by Bradley with 14 and Seiko with 12.
“To win a game like this, you need everybody to make a play,” assistant coach Chris Acker told XTRA 1360, while also singling out Seiko for an “unbelievable night.”
It was SDSU’s second game against a West Coast Conference opponent this season. They lost by six to BYU on Nov. 12.
On Wednesday, San Diego State welcomes UC San Diego (5-4) to Viejas Arena for a 6 p.m. crosstown battle.