Positive signs in SDSU closed door scrimmage against Arizona State

SDSU players and new coach Aguek Arop enjoy a moment on the bench during practice. (Don De Mars/EVT)

SDSU breaks the huddle after practice. (Don De Mars/EVT)

San Diego State Men’s Basketball competed in its first of two exhibition games on Saturday. They hosted the Arizona State Sun Devils at Viejas Arena. ASU, picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, defeated the Aztecs 72-68 in an event closed to the media. The East Village Times obtained a copy of the official box score of the game.  

SDSU men’s basketball first reported to campus on July 5th. Since that time, minus a short break in August, the team has competed against each other. Saturday offered the first opportunity for the Aztecs to play someone else. 

As with any scrimmage, game planning was at a minimum, making any conclusions drawn moot. Still, any information about the National Runners-up offers a tantalizing fix for an incredibly anticipated season. 

Darrion Trammell warms up before practice. (Don De Mars/EVT)

Likely, the most interesting nugget to draw from the box score is the amount of time each of the nine players received. Jaedon Ledee and Lamont Bulter both played over 30 minutes. Reese Waters and Micah Parrish played over 25 minutes. Miles Heide started and was the last player on the floor for more than 20 minutes. Miles Byrd practiced at point guard this week and played about 19 minutes. Jay Pal and Elijah Saunders competed against ASU for about 15 minutes each. Demarshay Johnson played for about nine minutes.

With Darrion Trammell out, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Brian Dutcher’s choice was curious. Reports indicated that Dutcher wanted to see what the young players could do in a game environment. Instead, his veterans received the majority of the time. 

Despite receiving the fewest minutes, Johnson was the only Aztec with a positive +/-. When he played, the Aztecs outscored the Sun Devils by five. Miles Heide and Micah Parrish broke even in this department. Lamont Butler had the poorest number at -7. 

While +/- is not the most informative stat, the contest did provide the staff an opportunity to see how their team matched up against a taller team. 

Six of the ten players who saw time for ASU men’s basketball head coach Bobby Hurley were 6-foot-8 or taller. Kamari Lands (6-foot-8), Alonzo Gaffney (6-foot-9), and Shawn Phillips Jr. (7 foot) started. Bryant Selebangue (6-foot-8), Zane Meeks (6-foot-9), and Akil Watson (6-foot-9) came off the bench. Lands paced ASU with 18 points, and Gaffney led them with nine rebounds. 

Heide, Johnson, LeDee, and Saunders are the primary options for SDSU to try and play big. Each of them had one of their own shots blocked on Saturday. Pal was the only Aztec to record a block. 

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The story of this game was the free throw disparity. ASU made ten more than SDSU attempted. In a game decided by four points, this made all the difference. Settling for jump shots instead of attacking the rim could be a teachable moment for the team. 

Lamont Butler shoots in practice. (Don De Mars/EVT)

SDSU topped ASU in most statistical categories. They led in assists (13-10), turnovers (12-13), steals (9-5), offensive rebounds (11-6), total rebounds (38-36), points off turnovers (20-8), and points in the paint (30-20). Nonetheless, ASU led for 36:07 of the game. The Aztecs were in front for only 2:01 of game time. They overcame a 20-point halftime deficit to take their largest lead of three with two minutes left in the contest. 

Butler led the Aztecs in scoring with 20. He was 8-14 and 2-6 from behind the arc. Jaedon LeDee finished with 19 on 8-13 shooting. Parish was the only other Aztec in double figures. He had 10 but shot 4-12 from the field, including 1-7 from three. Heide only made 1-5 attempts with his lone bucket from deep. 

Overall, the Aztecs shot 38.8% (26-67) from the field, 25% (8-32) from three, and 72.7% (8-11) from the free throw line. 

SDSU’s next exhibition is on October 30th at Viejas Arena. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. against Cal State San Marcos.  

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