Notebook: Fisher pushes the right buttons in 79-54 win over East Carolina

by Ryan Posner, Assistant Sports Editor

As the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

The San Diego State men’s basketball team is tough to beat at home, but the Aztecs are nearly impossible to beat at home coming off a loss.

After suffering one of the worst home losses in the Steve Fisher era last Saturday to Little Rock, SDSU came out of the gates with its hair on fire against East Carolina University and waltzed to a 79-54 win.

The Aztecs have now gone 87 games without losing twice in a row and have won 22 straight games when coming off a loss.

Fisher went with an unorthodox starting lineup that included senior center Angelo Chol, redshirt-freshman forward Zylan Cheatham, junior guard Dakari Allen, sophomore guard Trey Kell and freshman point guard Jeremy Hemsley.

“I felt that I needed to do something,” Fisher said.  “I almost started five new guys. I contemplated that. Then I said, ‘Let me see where I want to go and why.'”

On the bench to start the game was senior center Skylar Spencer, senior forward Winston Shepard and sophomore forward Malik Pope.

All the starting unit did was respond and score on each of its seven possessions and helped SDSU jump out to a 22-7 lead before they were subbed out a little over six minutes into the game.

Fisher was pleased with the way not only the three new starters played, but with how the three players benched handled the news.

“I’m proud of how we responded, how hard we played, how we shared and moved the ball and how the three guys I didn’t start dealt with the change,” Fisher said. “We have a room full of good people who want to win.”

Shepard comes back strong from zero-point performance

Shepard had one of the more lackluster games of his career on Saturday, scoring zero points while going 0-for-6 from the field.

He bounced back Monday in a big way, scoring 16 points (tied for a team-high) and grabbing a team-high six rebounds.

Equally impressive was his 10-for-15 performance from the free-throw line.

“Winston was smart and aggressive,” Fisher said. “He had 15 free throws, maybe the most we’ve had an individual shoot in my tenure here. (He was) going after the ball and smartly attacking the rim, not just wildly attacking the rim.”


“The coaches really made a statement but it didn’t make feel nervous, like I could be yanked. But it meant you perform or you don’t play.”

Jeremy Hemsley on being a freshman in a starting lineup that had three seniors taken out of it Monday.