After a disappointing 53-48 loss to the University of San Diego Toreros last season at Petco Park, the San Diego State Aztecs made sure they wouldn’t come up short again. On the opening night of the season, the Aztecs defeated the Toreros 69-59 in front of a full crowd at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California.
Early on, the referees made it clear that they were going to be calling a tight game. To be exact, there were 20 personal fouls in the first half and 40 total (USD: 23, SDSU: 17).
Both teams looked sloppy and could not find any rhythm in the first ten minutes of action. However, the Toreros got out to their largest lead of the game when they went ahead 23-14 with 7:56 in the first half.
The Aztecs responded with their own 13-0 run that was highlighted with impressive blocks from Zylan Cheatham and Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu, which made the SDSU student section (aka “The Show”) roar with excitement. Sophomore point guard Jeremy Hemsley ended the run with a three point jumper that extended the Aztecs lead to 35-31.
The Aztecs led 35-33 at the half, as Trey Kell led all scoring in the first half with 13 points and finished the night with 23 points on 7 for 16 from the field.
The second half was fast paced as both teams traded baskets in the first five minutes. Although, the Aztecs came out firing with an 18-2 run that was fueled by excellent defensive and resulted in several Torero turnovers. After this run, the Aztecs led 57-41 with 7:10 remaining.
The Aztecs had their largest lead of the game at 62-43 with 5:23 left in the second half. Overall, the Aztecs constant defensive pressure was too much for USD and forced them into 23 turnovers.
Player of the game:
Despite being pulled early on in the game, Jeremy Hemsley finished with 25 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Hemsley continues to be a reliable threat that can attack the basket and make three pointers. He finished his freshman year averaging 12 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per contest. Although, his assist to turnover ratio was low (0.95) and he will need to continue to be aggressive on offense if the Aztecs want to make it back to the Big Dance come March.
SDSU: The Aztecs will face No. 14 Gonzaga on the road Monday night.
USD: The Toreros will play at home on Monday night against Samford.