SAN DIEGO, Calif. Nov. 12 ?" San Diego State took control early in Saturday's matchup and stifled Southern Utah's offense throughout the contest to take a 70-37 victory over SUU. The Aztecs held the Thunderbirds to just 30 percent shooting from the floor while converting better than 50 percent on their end.
The Thunderbirds recorded the game's first basket as Ray Jones Jr. knocked down a step-back jumper to beat the shot clock and give SUU an early 2-0 advantage. The Aztecs then responded by scoring 15 straight points to take a 15-2 lead. San Diego State held Southern Utah scoreless for over 10 minutes during the run while pressuring the SUU offense into ine turnovers.
Jones was able to spark the Thunderbird offense once again just near the 10-minute mark after getting to the free-throw line with a hard drive to the basket where he went one of two from the stripe to break the scoring drought. Senior guard Chase Tapley then scored five straight points for SDSU before Jackson Stevenett and Jones recorded back-to-back baskets to cut the Aztec lead to 20-7.
San Diego State would close the opening period with a 21-8 run led by LaBradford Franklin who poured in six points in the final two minutes to finish the first half with eight. The sophomore guard trailed only fellow teammate Tapley in scoring during the first 20 minutes as he finished the half with 13.
San Diego State was able to control the paint in the opening period, outscoring the Thunderbirds 18-0 inside. The Aztecs also went 15-29 from the floor while holding Southern Utah to just 4-16 shooting.
Southern Utah appeared to be getting on track in the early minutes of the second half as Ramell Taylor opened the period with a two consecutive jumpers to up the Thunderbirds score to 19. The Aztecs defense would step up once again however holding the T-Birds scoreless over another five-minute period while scoring 13 unanswered points to increase their lead to 54-19.
The final 13 minutes of the game saw the Thunderbirds find some footing on offense as Southern Utah matched San Diego State basket for basket and were able to outscore SDSU 18-16 down the stretch to set the final score at 70-37.
Jones led the T-Birds in scoring for the game with nine points, five of which came from the free throw line. The Aztecs had four players finish in double figures including Tapley who led all scorers with 16 points.
San Diego State improves to 2-0 on the season after posting a 75-63 win over Bryant in their BTI Classic opener. With the loss Southern Utah falls to 1-1 on the year after its opening win over UC Davis. The Thunderbirds will close out the tournament Sunday as they are set to face Bryant University at 1:00 p.m.
DIXIE STATE 79, MINOT STATE 60: At St. George, a night removed from posting 42 points against Seattle Pacific, the lowest single-game point total in any regular season game since 2006, Dixie State College shot a blistering 64.3-percent in the opening half and posted the same number in the second half.
Dixie State improved to 1-1 on the year thanks to 50 points scored by players off the bench, while the Beavers fell to 0-2.
A pair of Maurice Cole three-pointers and a fast break dunk from Dalton Groskreutz highlighted a 12-0 run that set the blueprint for Dixie State in the opening half. DSC led by as many as 28 points late in the first half before taking a 44-21 advantage into the lockers.
The Red Storm scorched the nets connecting on 18-of-28 shots from the field, including six from beyond the arc.
Minot State played the aggressors by outscoring the Red Storm 19-6 over the first seven minutes cutting a 23-point deficit to 10 at the 13:48 mark.
Sophomore forward Steven Larson then took the team on his back, scoring eight of his team-high 12 points in the second half. Dixie State built the lead back up 24 points with four minutes left.
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