Aztecs Lose to Cross-Town Rival Usd

by Staff

By David CorderoSports Editor

Just by looking at the final score, one would think that the gamewas a blowout.

It was. But not until the second half.

San Diego State (1-2) was handed its worst loss of the season,73-45, by the University of San Diego last Saturday night before asell-out crowd of 2,500 at the USD Sports Center.

“It’s very disappointing,” forward Myron Epps said. “We’re thebetter team, man for man. We have better athletes and bettercoaching. But the score didn’t show that.”

For SDSU, the game started off well. Marcelo Correa was red hotearly, scoring nine points in the contest’s first seven minutes,giving the Aztecs a 13-7 lead.

Then the game got ugly. Real ugly.

In the next 5 minutes and 41 seconds, SDSU scored just 2 pointswhile relinquishing the lead. In the span of 54 seconds, backupcenter Joe Mann picked up three fouls and turned the ball over twice.

Not the most aesthetically pleasing display of basketball.

Two free throws by Kevin Hanson gave the Toreros a 27-25 halftimelead. It seemed like there was a lid on the basket, with the Aztecsshooting 35.5 percent from the field in the first half and USDknocking down only 30.8 of its shots.

Itwould only get worse for SDSU. In the second half they sank less thana quarter of their attempts.

“In the second half we couldn’t get things to click,” MichaelMarion said. “That was the difference.”

And that is an understatement.

The Aztecs were outscored 46-20 in the second stanza, allowing theToreros to make more than half of its field goals and three-pointshots. It was a mixture of bad offense and bad defense – whichis not a good combination.

“We just lost our composure and got too excited,” Epps said. “Westarted taking too many quick shots.”

Said forward Marion: “All around it was not a good game. They cameout and were the better team tonight.”

SDSU’s frustration came to a head midway through the second halfwhen Epps picked up a technical foul as the two teams mixed it upnear the hoop. It appeared that forward Vince Okotie shoved a USDplayer but the technical was called on Epps.

The Toreros could have taken this opportunity to pull away but itdidn’t. Roy Morris missed two free throws and Cameron Rigby did thesame. The Aztecs were unable to take advantage, turning the ball overthe next two times.

“We need to work on our offense,” Epps said. “We need to setbetter screens and not take as many bad shots.”

Said SDSU head coach Steve Fisher: “We don’t need a go-to guy. Weneed a couple of guys who can make a basket. Whether it be an openjump shot, a lay-up, a free throw — we need to believe that we canmake it.”

Which is exactly what USD did. Rigby was five out of nine for 15points and Andre Laws was deadly beyond the three-point arc, sinkingfour out of his six tries and finishing with 18 points. During theToreros’ 33-9 run in the second half, the team shot 10 of 14 from thefield.

David Abramowitz was the only Aztec to score in double digits,ending with 11 points while contributing three assists and threesteals. Correa never scored after the 13-minute mark of the firsthalf and fouled out with 8:34 left in the game.

The bottom line for the Aztecs is that they can’t win a basketballgame getting out-rebounded by 21 and shooting 29 percent. It justwon’t happen. The Aztecs, who’ve only scored 94 points in their lasttwo games, need to start putting points on the board.

“There’s no question that when you score as few a points as we’vescored in these past (two) games, Fisher said, “you have somedefinite concerns on what you’re doing offensively.

“It might sound crazy but we’re going to take this team and we’regoing to get better and a month from now you’re going to say ‘man,remember when they got beat by 30 at San Diego and how much betterthey are playing now?’ That’s the slant I’m taking. But if we don’tcompete harder and smarter, these results will continue.”