Aztecs shocked at home by crosstown Toreros


Raymond Gorospe

Senior guard Devin Watson (right) scrambles for a loose ball with redshirt senior forward Isaiah Pineiro during the Aztecs 73-61 loss to USD on Dec. 5 at Viejas Arena.

by Kyle Betz, Staff Writer

San Diego State men’s basketball was handed its first home loss of the season by crosstown opponent University of San Diego, falling by a score of 73-61 on Dec. 5 at Viejas Arena.

The Aztecs (5-3) were 11-1 against the Toreros (7-2) in the prior 12 meetings, with the victory for USD its first on the Mesa since 2000.

SDSU must now have a short memory, as they head north to take on Cal Berkeley in enemy territory in three days.

“We lost a very tough game,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “But I told the guys in the locker room, ‘We can’t obsess over it, we can’t linger on it. We play again on Saturday.’”

SDSU was unable to build upon a two-game winning streak, and its nine-game home winning streak was broken.

The Aztecs had a 33-26 lead at halftime, but were only able to muster 28 points in the second half while shooting 22.7 percent from the field.

Dutcher said his team’s struggles in the second half were a result of missed shots.

“I think the guys got frustrated in the second half, and that’s the way basketball works,” Dutcher said. “We just didn’t score enough.”

The Aztecs and Toreros were tied five times with three lead changes during the first 11 minutes of the second half.

USD took the lead for good with 9:52 left, following a three-point play by redshirt senior guard Isaiah Wright.

The Toreros were led on offense by Wright and redshirt senior Isaiah Pineiro, who finished with 18 and 21 points, respectively.

With under three minutes remaining in the second half, redshirt sophomore forward Jalen McDaniels and sophomore guard Jordan Schakel fouled out within 43 seconds of each other.

McDaniels was in foul trouble all night, and played only 12 minutes in the second after picking up his fourth foul with just under 10 minutes to play.

His third foul was a technical, which came with around 10 minutes left.

“The talking, we can’t have. (McDaniels) knows better than that,” Dutcher said. “He can’t get that kind of technical, where all of a sudden it’s a personal foul and he fouls out of the game.”

Things looked brighter for the Aztecs in the first half, and the team built a game-high nine-point lead following a three-point shot from senior guard Devin Watson with 7:50 left before the break.

Watson led all scorers with 22 points to go with three assists.

Senior guard Jeremy Hemsley said Watson put the team on his back.

“I would say (Watson) was on one out there, really playing with heart,” Hemsley said. “He was our only source of offense.”

SDSU received four team fouls within the first four minutes of the opening half.

Sophomore guard Jordan Schakel received two quick personal fouls, prompting head coach Brian Dutcher to substitute redshirt freshman Adam Seiko into the game just over two minutes into the contest.

Schakel did not return for the remainder of the first half.

Shortly thereafter, redshirt sophomore forward McDaniels elbowed USD redshirt junior forward Alex Floresca and received a flagrant-1 personal foul. The crowd expressed its displeasure with boos and jeers.