Aztecs struggle in win over UT Arlington, 68-62

Credit: SDSU Athletics

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SDSU Athletics

The San Diego State Aztecs struggled in their 68-62 win over the UT Arlington Mavericks. The win keeps the Aztecs undefeated at home early in the year.

SDSU did not take good care of the basketball.

Unlike they normally do, the Aztecs lost the turnover battle. The combination of the usual ferocious Aztecs defense intercepting passes and pickpocketing unaware ball handlers was not there. Early charge calls contributed to the 17-13 loss in the turnover column.

San Diego State also did not win the battle on the boards as each team grabbed 34 rebounds in the contest. The Mavericks got more second chance opportunities than SDSU with their 17 offensive rebounds to SDSU’s 11.

The Aztecs trailed for the first ten minutes after a slow start offensively, but after being tied at 46, San Diego State controlled the game for the final eight minutes.

Winning ugly, especially early in the season, is never a bad thing. Pepperdine last year and San Jose State in 2019 served as learning opportunities for the team to figure out how to win when they aren’t playing their best basketball.

Matt Bradley led the way for the Aztecs with 15 points. Coming off his strong opening night performance, Bradley struggled from the floor against BYU and Arizona State, so it was important for SDSU to get a dominant Matt Bradley back. Only Trey Pulliam joined him in double figures with 11 points.

Despite the lackluster offense, the Aztecs thrived at the free-throw line and from behind the three-point line. San Diego State shot 40% on three-pointers and made 30 of their 34 free throws.

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Both of these marks were significantly better than those entering the game. The Aztecs were 326th in the nation at free throw percentage(60.5) and 351st in three-point shooting(20.4). There are 358 Division I teams, so these marks were extremely poor.

San Diego State’s next game will be on Thanksgiving against the Georgetown Hoyas in the Wooden Classic. This game will be a neutral court game at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Depending on the result of that game, SDSU will then play either the USC Trojans or the St. Joe’s Eagles on Friday. Tip-off against Georgetown will be at 9:00 p.m. PT.

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