San Diego State opened Mountain West play against Air Force Wednesday led by a hot Matt Bradley, who paced the Aztecs to a 71-55 win at Viejas Arena.
Bradley finished the game with 27 points and six three-pointers, a career best.
The Aztecs (10-3, 1-0 in MW) cruised to a 36-23 advantage at the half as Bradley scored 13 and Keshad Johnson added eight.
Bradley stayed hot after the break as the SDSU lead ballooned to 19, but with just over 10 minutes to play, Air Force (9-5, 0-1 in MW) bounced back, and, with a layup by Marcell McCreary, cut the deficit to 10.
Thanks to a 9-0 run, though, the Aztecs re-asserted themselves. Adam Seiko started it with a three, followed by a three-point play by Jaedon Ledee, who buried the free throw after being fouled making a layup.
SDSU never looked back, and head coach Brian Dutcher credited Bradley, saying “he turned his game up.”
“We have to have Matt play like that … for us to be team we want to be,” he told San Diego Sports 760.
San Diego State topped preseason MW polls, but it’s a tough conference as Dutcher well knows.
“That was the Mountain West tonight, five teams, five home team victories,” he said.
SDSU hopes to snap that trend when the team hits the road to face UNLV (11-2, 0-1 MW) at 1 p.m. Saturday. And UNLV will be hungry, having been one of those Wednesday road losses.
In addition, the Aztecs, like everyone else with flight plans, will adjust based on potential cancellations. If the team’s flight ends up being nixed, Dutcher said, they will travel by bus to Las Vegas.