San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Roadrunners too slow for Aztec defense

The San Diego State Aztecs (3-0) allowed just 12 points in the first half against the California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners (0-4) en route to their 51-27 win last night at Viejas Arena. That’s the fewest amount of points any Division I basketball team has allowed this season.

CSUB finished the game shooting just 21.4 percent from the field and  5 percent from long range. SDSU forced 23 turnovers, stole the ball 11 times and rejected nine shots.

Great, right? On defense, yes.

On offense? Not so much.

The Aztecs shot a less-than-desired 20.8 percent in the first half, slightly improving to 24.6 percent at the final buzzer.

“We were good defensively, and we were bad offensively,” head coach Steve Fisher plainly stated to open the post-game press conference.

The Roadrunners missed their first 20 shots and didn’t score for the first 12 minutes of the game. But SDSU only put up 11 points in that span. Bakersfield finished the half toe-to-toe with the Aztecs, scoring 12 points to SDSU’s 11 in the last eight minutes.

The second half began with more of the same: SDSU used its smothering defense to force a shot-clock violation on Bakersfield’s first possession, but it only scored one point by the first media timeout.

Intensified full-court pressure eventually led to some easy buckets midway through the second half, though, and the Aztecs finished the game on a 22-9 scoring run.

Freshman guard Kevin Zabo played his best game of the year, finishing with seven points, two assists and a steal on 17 minutes played.

“Tonight, I thought (Zabo) pushed the ball better than he did the first two games,” Fisher said after the game. “He was going quicker and making some good decisions. When he shot the ball, it looked like they all were going to go in.”

Sophomore guard Dakarai Allen made hustle plays all night, often diving to the floor and putting in the extra effort to give the Aztecs possession. Allen brought the house down when he converted an and-one off a Zabo steal, giving SDSU its largest lead of the night in the second half.

“That’s just the type of guy Dakarai (Allen) is,” senior forward Dwayne Polee II said. “He’s going to bring a lot of energy throughout the whole season. He’s going to pick up, he’s going to get steals, blocks, rebounds, whatever we really need him to do to give us that extra boost coming off the bench.”

Polee led the Aztecs with 13 points, but shot just 3-14 from the field. Fisher said after the game that Polee needs to slow down and occasionally play the game in slow motion to maximize his potential.

Five-star freshman forward Malik Pope saw his first game-time action as an Aztec — the cheers were deafening when he stepped on the court. Pope looked rusty, but he wound up with four points, two blocks, two steals and two rebounds in 14 minutes.

“Malik (Pope) has NBA written all over him,” senior guard Aqeel Quinn said. “As long as he is comfortable, the opposing team will be in trouble.”

SDSU now travels to Maui to play Brigham Young University in the first game of the championship round of the 2014 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. That game starts at 8:30 p.m. and will air on ESPN2.

Be sure to check out how the Aztecs did in their previous game against the University of Utah here.

About the Contributor
Matthew Bain
Matthew Bain, Managing Editor
Matthew Bain is the managing editor for The Daily Aztec. He’s a senior journalism major with the Honors minor in interdisciplinary studies. His work has been featured in the The Daily Aztec, North Coast Current, SB Nation and Four El Magazine. He spent this past summer as a sports reporting intern with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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Roadrunners too slow for Aztec defense