San Diego State had not played in eight days, since beating Kennesaw State on December 12, and it showed. The Aztecs shot 36% from the field and turned the ball over 15 times, yet they still won by 16 points, beating the Tritons 62-46.
The Aztecs started the game hot, jumping out to an early lead that they would never relinquish. Even though the shooting started off slow, the Aztecs defense was suffocating.
The defense stifled the Tritons’ offense, not allowing them to score their second basket until nearly halfway through the first half.
While not terribly efficient, San Diego State was dominant, especially in the paint. In the first half the Aztecs out-rebounded the Tritons 24-15 and outscored them in the paint 10-4.
Nathan Mensah and Jaedon LeDee were just too big and strong for the UC San Diego bigs to handle in the first half.
The Tritons made adjustments and the second half started as a mirror of the first; San Diego State started off cold and UC San Diego began chipping into the lead.
Turnovers and points in the paint switched in favor to the Tritons and the Aztec defense started to have a bit more struggle in putting together stops.
In the end the Aztecs would be outscored by only two points in the second half, thanks in large part to the big men allowing few second chances.
Overall the performance was uninspiring. Was it rust due to the long layoff? Were the players looking ahead to conference play? Either way the team will need to find their way soon.
It was not all bad as the perimeter defense was much improved. The Aztecs held the Tritons to 18% shooting behind the three point line and helped force nine steals.
Darrion Trammell led the Aztecs with 18 points and four assists. He was the only Aztec in double figures.
UCSD guard and hometown kid Bryce Pope led all scorers with 20 points.
The Aztecs host Air Force on December 28th to open conference play.