SDSU vs. USD
Jenny Craig Pavillion- Wednesday, November 20th at 8 pm
City Championship Preview
The 2019 NCAA college basketball season has rolled into its third week.
San Diego State University is 3-0, and in their upcoming match, the Aztecs will face-off against the University of San Diego Toreros in the San Diego city championship.
USD will host this season’s match-up at the Jenny Craig Pavillion. San Diego is a big city but a small world when it comes to college basketball. These teams know each other, as many of the players have a history together. A battle for civic pride will be up for grabs in one of San Diego’s most celebrated collegiate rivalries.
SDSU is coming off a resounding victory over Grand Canyon University, in which the Aztecs beat GCU for the first time in three opportunities. The 2019 Aztecs have two starting senior transfers in KJ Feagin and Yanni Wetzel playing. Their upper-classmen confidence has manifested itself through the lack of uncharacteristic upset losses that plagued SDSU’s non-conference schedule in past seasons.
Last Tuesday, on November 12th, the Aztecs jumped out to an initial lead over GCU, but the Lopes matched SDSU’s pace and kept it competitive during the opening ten minutes. SDSU junior Matt Mitchell sparked the offense with back-to-back baseline three-pointers that brought the crowd to their feet at Viejas Arena. Mitchell’s run of scoring proved to be contagious as the Aztecs’ buckets started pouring. San Diego State ended the half with an emphatic defensive stand. As seconds ticked down, GCU rose up and shot a buzzer-beater that was condescendingly swatted away by the Aztecs defense.
Up 40 to 24, the Aztecs started the second half with a six-point run. Nathan Mensah and Malachi Flynn led San Diego’s offense production with 14 points each. GCU jostled, boxed out, and clawed for every opportunity possession revealed itself, but SDSU’s poise and professionalism carried them past the opposition. The Lopes pulled within 11 points, but after an SDSU timeout where Coach Dutcher told his team, “That Grand Canyon had another run in them and that we needed to tighten up on defense. We should not overreact.” The Aztecs stuck to their game plan. They came out of the timeout with a designed play that freed-up Sophomore N. Mensah for an alley-oop jam that was assisted by Flynn. Even though Coach Dan Majerle inspired a strong effort from his Lopes, San Diego’s determination and resilience pushed the momentum in their direction. The Aztecs won 86-61 and moved to 3-0 on the season. SDSU earned its first win over Grand Canyon University in program history.
USD is 2-3 on the young season with a notable win over the Mountain West Conference’s Fresno State at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros will be at home when they play SDSU on Wednesday night. A season ago, the Toreros, who are again led by Coach Sam Scholl, took down the Aztecs in a massive upset at Viejas Arena.
Everyone in San Diego should know that the city championship is a huge rivalry game. The Aztecs who lost last year, are certainly looking for revenge. They are coming off a strong win. The Toreros lost their last match by 19 points to the Colorado Buffs, who are ranked 25th nationally. USD has faced tougher competition than SDSU, but so far, the Aztecs’ wins have defined their team’s personality with solid one-sided victories. This should be an intense game.