San Diego State hosted the University of California, Los Angeles, in a closed-door scrimmage at Viejas Arena. UCLA lost to North Carolina in the Sweet 16 a year ago and is ranked eighth in the preseason AP poll this season. The Bruins provided the Aztecs with a measuring stick of the progress they have made in the offseason as they continue to work towards their opening game of the season at home against Cal State on November 7.
UCLA defeated the Aztecs 89-87 in a high-scoring affair that showed the potential for the Aztecs’ offense. Keshad Johnson started alongside Nathan Mensah, Lamont Butler, Darrion Trammell, and Matt Bradley. Adam Seiko, Jaedon LeDee, and Micah Parrish all played over ten minutes off the bench. Miles Byrd, Elijah Saunders, Aguek Arop, and Demarshay Johnson all played fewer than eight minutes.
UCLA’s top returning player from a season ago is 6’7 225 pound Jaime Jaquez Jr. He averaged 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. He is a perfect player for the Aztecs to compete against because he profiles as the type of player SDSU had trouble guarding a year ago.
Specifically, they struggled to contain Boise State’s Emmanuel Akot (6’8, 215) and Abu Kigab (6’7, 220) in three narrow losses to the Broncos a season ago. Judging from the 26 points on 10-16 shooting Jacquez produced, SDSU has a long way to go in this area.
Jacquez was the Bruins second-leading scorer. Tyger Campbell led the way with 31. Together they combined for 57 of the Bruins’ 89 points.
The Aztecs won the battle of the boards 42-32. That entire margin was on the offensive glass. SDSU had 20 offensive rebounds that resulted in 25 points. UCLA had 10 offensive boards and scored 20 off their misses.
LeDee came off the bench but played nine minutes more than Johnson. He was the only player on the court with double-digit rebounds, he had ten. LeDee also pitched in 14 points on 4-9 shooting.
Offensively, SDSU was paced by its own dynamic tandem. Darrion Trammell had 24, and Matt Bradley added 18. In potentially a change from last season, Bradley shot ten three-pointers. He made three. Trammell was 4-8 from deep. Overall the Aztecs were 10-31 from three, 26-67 from the field, and 21-30 from the free throw line.
SDSU had more fast break points (27-18), points off turnovers (23-20), and made five more free throws. UCLA won because they shot the ball better. The Bruins shot 31-61 from the field, including a blistering 11-24 from three.
UCLA jumped out to a huge 16-point lead after an 18-0 run with 13:41 left in the first half. The Bruins led for 30:54 of the game. SDSU was able to claw its way back to tie UCLA at 45 at the half. They took its largest lead of the game at six, with 5:46 left in the game. They were unable to hold the lead because they missed seven free throws in the second half. The Bruins walked out of San Diego with an 89-87 scrimmage victory.
This is the first of two exhibitions the Aztecs have before the season starts. Their next is on November 1st against San Diego Christian. Unlike today’s matchup, that matchup is open to the public.