San Diego State lost by 2 points to Arizona in their previous game. Aztecs returned home to Viejas Arena to face crosstown rival University of San Diego with the goal of bouncing back. They had many mistakes on offense yet were defined by tough defense to get a win.
SDSU won over USD by a score of 57-48. Their defense held USD to under 50 points and they were very lucky to accomplish that. The offense came out strong but they had 10 turnovers in the first half, 15 for the entire game.
Head Coach Steve Fisher spoke about those turnovers, “Ten first half turnovers, too many. Five second half turnovers, a couple which if we didn’t turn it over we probably could have gotten a basket on. We had too many, and then the second half we couldn’t make a shot.”
Fisher talked about how key it is to not turnover the ball because of offensive flow. Most of their turnovers could have been scoring plays which would have given them even more of a cushion. Because they were turning over the ball so much, the defense had to define this game.
Freshmen guard Trey Kell defined why defense is so important, “Our philosophy is defense first. We know that if any of us do not play defense, or play hard, we are going to come out of the game.” The players all understand that their strength is defense. Fisher predicates this team on their man defense and they will win games down the line because of their defense.
It was noticeable that without Aqeel Quinn coming off the bench, the team lost a little bit of their spark. Senior forward J.J. O’Brien mentioned Quinn, “The biggest thing we’re going to miss is his energy, the spark he brings. He comes in off the bench and as the sixth man, it really brings a spark whether he’s making a play on defense or hitting a three.”
Without Quinn in these upcoming games, it will give Matt Shrigley the chance to be the spark plug coming off the bench. Dwayne Polee led the team with 14 points and 4 rebounds and J.J. O’Brien was right behind him with 13 points and 4 rebounds. The Aztecs next game will be at Washington on Sunday, December 7 at 6 p.m. Pacific.