Aztecs crushed by No. 1 Duke in Maui Invitational


Raymond Gorospe

Senior guard Devin Watson looks to initiate offense during the Aztecs’ 76-60 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 6 at Viejas Arena.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

In order to beat the No. 1 ranked team in the country, you have to play perfect.

Against the men’s basketball team from Duke University, it might not have mattered.

San Diego State men’s basketball was unable to keep up with the No. 1 Blue Devils, falling 90-64 in the quarterfinals of the Maui Invitational in Maui, Hawaii on Monday afternoon.

The Aztecs (2-1) trailed by as many as 35 points, and could not stay with a Duke side which shot 51 percent from the field and had five players finish in double figures.

SDSU was able to limit the production of Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson, holding the big man to 13 points and six rebounds, a drop-off from his 25.3 points-per-game average coming in.

The Aztecs failed to overcome Duke’s three-point attack, however, as the Blue Devils built a quick lead after making six of its first seven three pointers.

Duke (4-0) finished the first half going 9-for-17 from behind the arc, matching the total number of first-half field goals made by SDSU.

For the game, the Blue Devils finished with 10 three pointers, compared to six (on 21 attempts) for the Aztecs, also out-rebounding the Scarlet and Black 43 to 30. 

SDSU shot only 35 percent from the field, but had four players finish in double figures, with senior guard Devin Watson leading the way with 15 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.

Senior guard Jeremy Hemsley finished with 12 points for the Aztecs, while sophomore forwards Matt Mitchell and Jalen McDaniels both finished with 11 points.

Duke freshman forward RJ Barrett scored 16 points in the first half, and finished with a game-high 20 points.

Barrett played only six minutes in the second half after collecting his fourth foul less than five minutes into the half, and sat late with the Blue Devils emptying their bench leading big.

The Aztecs trailed 49-32 at halftime, but went on a 4-0 run to start the second period after not making a field goal for the final 3:08 of the first half.

Duke responded with an 8-0 run to push its lead to 21, however, and the rout was on for the Blue Devils.

SDSU will look to get back on track in the consolation bracket against Xavier on Tuesday.