The San Diego State Aztecs got the best of former conference rival BYU in the double-overtime quarterfinal thriller of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, advancing to play the University of Pittsburgh tonight at 7 p.m. PST on ESPN in the semifinal match.
Pitt cruised to an 81-68 victory against Chaminade University yesterday afternoon behind a 27-point effort from sophomore Michael Young. The 6-foot-8 forward also snatched up 15 rebounds, 10 of which were offensive, in 35 minutes. The Panthers' other interior threat, Derrick Randall, added 17 points and 21 rebounds off the bench. After fighting past BYU's onslaught from long range, the Aztec defense will have to relocate their focus to a couple Panthers in the paint.
The Pittsburgh defense has yet to show up this season. Division II Chaminade shot 51 percent from the field earlier today including 11-27 from deep. The University of Hawaii beat the Panthers 74-70 last Friday behind 52.9 percent shooting from the field. If there's one thing the Aztecs could use after a draining double-overtime squabble, it's a lax defense.
We saw a pretty evenly distributed scoring load from SDSU with Aqeel Quinn, Winston Shepard, J.J. O'Brien and Trey Kell all in double figures, except this time the team's shooting percentage wasn't south of 35 percent. We also saw carelessness with the ball and poor free throw shooting down the stretch. Hawaii took great care of the rock last Friday, coughing it up only seven times all game.
If the Aztecs can limit themselves to under 10 turnovers they should cruise to victory, assuming their defense doesn't skip a beat and their shooting performance from yesterday wasn't a one-time thing.