The SDSU Aztecs earn first win 66-53 over UCR

Credit: SDSU Athletics

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Credit: Aztecs Athletics

The San Diego State men’s basketball team won their first game of the season against UC Riverside on Tuesday. 

The last time fans witnessed the SDSU men’s basketball team in person, Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzel were roaming the court in Las Vegas.

In the season’s first game, the fans didn’t skip a beat, the show was full, the pep band was playing, and Viejas Arena was rocking.

That is exactly what Brian Dutcher wanted with the fans back. “It was great. The student section, The Show, was outstanding and full. Our loyal fanbase was in the building,” Dutcher said. He applauded all the fans for following all covid protocols and still showing up to root for the Aztecs.

Matt Bradley immediately caught the attention of everyone watching SDSU. It’s rare for a player of his size to move so fast, yet for many, it feels normal. He was pegged as a big-time transfer that would fill the void of Matt Mitchell. Well, simply put, he dominated in his debut.

“I don’t think he could ease in if he wanted to. I watched him play since high school. He’s always put it in the basket. And the same way he is doing for us, in the low post, driving, pulling up, shooting threes, so I think as he becomes more comfortable, he will become more dangerous. The thing about Matt is that he is a very good passer, so if they help on him like the end of the first half, he drove in, and they helped, and he threw a nice lob pass to Nathan Mensah,” Dutcher said of his star transfer.

Bradley put up 23 points in his debut, topping Jeremey Helmsley for most debut points in recent memory (Helmsley scored 20 in 2015). Unlike Mitchell, who could pull up from beyond the arc, all of Bradley’s production came within the perimeter. On the day he was 8-12 while shooting 7-9 from the charity stripe.

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Dutcher had the benefit of another season with Trey Pulliam under his wing. In the last three seasons, Pulliam blossomed into a complete player that can make play for others, himself, and hold his own defensively.

He showed all that this game. Pulliam started the Aztecs season by draining a three-pointer, one of only two three-pointers the Aztecs would make all game. His signature floater was on display multiple times this game. Pulliam finished the game with 15 points and 31 minutes played, just behind Bradley in both categories.

Coming into the season, SDSU isn’t projected to win the conference despite their recent track record of producing dominant teams. They will have to rely on both Pulliam and Bradley if they once again want to prove the conference wrong.

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