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Aztecs cruise to 103-64 victory over Texas Southern

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Aztecs cruise to 103-64 victory over Texas Southern

Sophomore forward Matt Mitchell drives around redshirt sophomore forward Justin Hopkins during the Aztecs 103-64 victory over Texas Southern on Nov. 14 at Viejas Arena.

Sophomore forward Matt Mitchell drives around redshirt sophomore forward Justin Hopkins during the Aztecs 103-64 victory over Texas Southern on Nov. 14 at Viejas Arena.

Raymond Gorospe

Sophomore forward Matt Mitchell drives around redshirt sophomore forward Justin Hopkins during the Aztecs 103-64 victory over Texas Southern on Nov. 14 at Viejas Arena.

Raymond Gorospe

Raymond Gorospe

Sophomore forward Matt Mitchell drives around redshirt sophomore forward Justin Hopkins during the Aztecs 103-64 victory over Texas Southern on Nov. 14 at Viejas Arena.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

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San Diego State men’s basketball reached the century mark during a 103-64 victory over University of Texas Southern on Wednesday night at Viejas Arena.

SDSU made quick work of its challengers from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, leading by as many as 41 points and never trailing after scoring the first eight points against the Tigers.

“I was happy with our effort tonight, it was about what I thought it would be,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “We said we wanted to really run them.”

The victory was the final tune-up for the Aztecs before the team jets off to Hawaii to compete in the Maui Invitational on Monday, where No. 1 ranked Duke awaits.

“That’s why these kids come to San Diego State,” Dutcher said. “We promise them we’re going to play marquee games and give them the opportunity to play on the biggest stage, and it will be the biggest stage that day.”

The offensive explosion saw SDSU shoot 53 percent from the field, with six players finishing in double figures. Sophomore forward Matt Mitchell led the charge with 21 points to go with five rebounds and three assists.

Mitchell said he welcomes getting the ball on offense and producing for the Aztecs.

“For me it’s just creating mismatches, and just trying to make the best play for our team when the ball is in my hands,” he said.

Redshirt sophomore forward Jalen McDaniels joined Mitchell in double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds, and could have had more if not for first-half foul trouble.

McDaniels already had seven points and six rebounds when a second foul forced him to take a seat less than eight minutes into the game, and he picked up his third foul with 4:27 to play in the first period, relegating him back to the bench.

“I’m still concerned about Jalen getting in early foul trouble,” Dutcher said. “He’ll be better suited when I finally put another big in the lineup.”

The Aztecs led by as many as 25 points in the first half, following a jumper by Devin Watson, and took a 49-28 lead into the halftime break.

Watson finished with 14 points to go with a game-high eight assists, despite being held scoreless until a pair of free throws with under seven minutes left in the opening half.

Sophomore guard Jordan Schakel, freshman forward Nathan Mensah and senior guard Jeremy Hemsley joined the Aztecs in double figures, finishing with 16, 11, and 10 points respectively.

Texas Southern finished with a 33 percent shooting percentage, but secured 12 offensive rebounds in the opening half. The Tigers only had four second-chance points to show for it, however, and were held to four offensive boards after the break.

“When they miss so many shots there’s more offensive opportunities to rebound,” Dutcher said. “We made a point at half time to say we wanted to cut that down drastically.”

Graduate forward Jeremy Combs and senior guard Derrick Bruce finished with 15 points apiece to lead the Tigers in scoring.

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