No. 24 San Diego State led 41-11 at the half and went on to defeat the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 76-39. And it felt even more lopsided than that in the early going. The Aztecs led 39-5 with just under three minutes remaining in the first half.
Senior point guard Xavier Thames once again led the Aztecs with 16 points and four assists in just 20 minutes of court time. Josh Davis added 13 points and a team-high 14 rebounds. Aqeel Quinn was a spark off the bench, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Trey Kennedy led the Thunderbirds with 10 points.
What may have seemed like another ho-hum win for the Aztecs was actually part of an impressive milestone. Since the 2009-10 season, the Aztecs have won 100 straight games when leading with five minutes left in the game. That's right. They are 100-0 when leading by any amount, small or large, with 5:00 minutes left in regulation. Tonight's 76-39 win was expected, but the 100-game win streak could not have been anticipated or even hoped for four years ago when it began.
Less than two weeks ago the streak was in serious jeopardy when the Aztecs led 65-64 at crosstown rival San Diego. The Toreros hoisted a three point shot that bounced off the rim with two seconds remaining on the clock and the Aztecs held on for win number 98 in the streak.
Memorable moments in the past have come from Jamaal Franklin and D.J. Gay who knocked down buzzer beaters to win games and keep the streak intact. In 22 games out of the 100, the Aztecs lead was five points or less. The Aztecs coaching staff preaches a "finish strong" message that has been implemented by the players. It is this type of mental toughness that has propelled San Diego State to eight straight post-season tournaments and four straight in the NCAA tournament.
Aztecs sophomore Winston Shepard did not play and was not in uniform for undisclosed disciplinary reasons according to coach Fisher. He is expected to play on Saturday. Dwayne Polee II was sent to the hospital for tests after not feeling well earlier in the week. He showed up at the arena in the second half of the game and joined his teammates on the bench.
Next up, San Diego State faces McNeese State out of Louisiana on Saturday, December 21 at 7 pm Pacific time.