The Daily Aztec

SDSU explodes on offense for 97-78 victory over Colorado State

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Senior guard Trey Kell (3) dribbles the ball against Colorado State redshirt sophomore guard Anthony Bonner during the Aztecs 97-78 victory over the Rams at Viejas Arena on Jan. 24

Senior guard Trey Kell (3) dribbles the ball against Colorado State redshirt sophomore guard Anthony Bonner during the Aztecs 97-78 victory over the Rams at Viejas Arena on Jan. 24

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Senior guard Trey Kell (3) dribbles the ball against Colorado State redshirt sophomore guard Anthony Bonner during the Aztecs 97-78 victory over the Rams at Viejas Arena on Jan. 24

by Abraham Jewett, Assistant Sports Editor

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San Diego State men’s basketball needed to respond at home against Colorado State University after three straight conference losses.

The Aztecs would not need 100 points to win, but they nearly got there anyway.  

SDSU (12-7, 4-4 MW) made 13 three-pointers while scoring a season-high 97 points, and came away with a resounding 97-78 victory over the visiting Rams (10-12, 3-6 MW) on Wednesday night at Viejas Arena.

The 13 three-pointers made tied a season high for the Aztecs, and the 97 points were the second most ever scored in a Mountain West game on SDSU’s home floor, trailing only when the team scored 98 against Texas Christian University in 2012.

“It feels good to get a win when you’re riding a three game losing streak,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “We just have to continue to stay with what we do, believe in the process and play our way out of it. And we did tonight.”

This was the second win in as many tries this season for the Aztecs against the Rams, having won the previous meeting between the two teams on the road three weeks ago in Fort Collins.

Seven players – including all five starters – scored in double figures for the Aztecs, who were led by a game-high 20 points from junior forward Max Montana.

“I just know that Max is getting in his rhythm. He is starting to scratch the surface of what he’s going to do,” Dutcher said. “If he continues to play like this we are going to be hard to be beat.”

Montana finished with a game high five three-pointers on nine attempts.

Other players in double figures for the Aztecs were senior guard Trey Kell (17 points, five assists), freshman forward Matt Mitchell (15 points, four assists), junior guard Devin Watson (11 points, six assists, three rebounds), junior guard Jeremy Hemsley (11 points, three assists), senior forward Malik Pope (10 points),and redshirt freshman forward Jalen McDaniels (10 points, six rebounds, three assists).

Kell, who had 13 of his 17 points in the second half, said that it felt good to get back in the win column.

“It was big for us,” Kell said. “We had to get back on the right track with the goals that we want.”

SDSU used an early 17-2 second half run to build on its 47-33 halftime lead, and finished the game shooting 56 percent from the field and 43 percent from behind the arc.

“It just felt like everything was flowing today,” Kell said. “There was no hesitation with anybody. Everyone was being aggressive at the same time and playing the right way.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Anthony Bonner scored 20 points to lead Colorado State, including 15 points in the second half as he tried to keep his team afloat while the Aztecs lead hovered around 20 points.

SDSU led by as many as 27 points in the closing period, after a three-pointer from Montana gave the team a 71-44 lead with 12:46 left to play.

Other players in double figures for the Rams were redshirt sophomore center Nico Carvacho (14 points, 12 rebounds), and freshman forward Logan Ryan (13 points, four rebounds).

Redshirt junior guard J.D. Paige played the first 29 minutes of the game for the Rams, but was forced to leave after appearing to injure his hand following a hard screen from Pope in the second half.

Paige finished the game with five points on two of 13 shooting, failing to make the same impact he did while scoring 22 points to lead the team in the first meeting.

Colorado State was also without its leading scorer in junior guard Prentiss Nixon (17.9 points per game), who was forced to sit out his second straight game with an ankle injury.

The Aztecs ended the first half on an 11-2 run, and led by as many as 16 points after two free throws from McDaniels gave the team a 47-31 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the opening period.

SDSU built a 28-16 lead earlier in the opening frame after two consecutive jumpers from Kell finished off a 14-2 run that also included two three’s from Montana, a layup from Hemsley and two free-throws from Pope.

Colorado State was able to get back to within 36-31 with 3:16 left before the break after converting six straight field goals, but proceeded to miss their next five shots during the Aztecs end-of-half run.

SDSU next game will be on the road on Jan. 27, when the team takes on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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