If you were at Viejas Arena on Monday night, and you didn’t know any better, you’d think the University of Washington was the University of Kansas.
That’s what Viejas Arena felt like, just like that December night when the Aztecs hosted one of college basketball’s truest blue bloods.
But this time, the atmosphere was better, and the Aztecs came out victorious with a 93-78 win over the Huskies.
After recording San Diego State’s first-ever triple-double in the NIT opening win over IPFW, Winston Shepard settled for a double-double, leading the Aztecs with a season-high 20 points (7-12 FG, 6-6 FT) and 10 rebounds. He also had four assists.
It was his best offensive game of the season.
Malik Pope also recorded a double-double, snagging a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with 10 points.
Including Shepard and Pope, the Aztecs had six players with double-digit points. Trey Kell finished with 16 points (5-12 FG, 2-3 3-pt, 4-4 FT), Jeremy Hemsley with 13 (4-15 FG, 5-8 FT), Matt Shrigley with 12 (4-5 FG, 4-4 3-pt), and Dakarai Allen added 10 (3-8 FG, 4-5 FT).
The 93 points scored on the night was a season-high for the Aztecs. Considerably better than last year’s debacle at Washington in which the Aztecs were held to a season-low 36 points.
From the start, the game unfolded as expected.
A good offensive team versus a good defensive team
After a quick back-and-forth in the opening minutes, the Aztecs took a 11-10 lead at the 16:47 mark, and did not relinquish it for the rest of the game . San Diego State led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but the Huskies hung around, making it a 3-point game with 5:14 remaining.
Then the Aztecs woke up.
They closed out the half on an 18-5 run, highlighted by Matt Shrigley’s buzzer beating 3-pointer in the closing seconds, and led by 16 points at intermission.
San Diego State held the Huskies to just 28 percent shooting in the first half, and 38 percent for the game.
Washington did get within five late in the second half, but its first half struggles were too much to overcome.
San Diego State will play host to Georgia Tech on Wednesday night at Viejas Arena. Game time is 6 p.m.
-Andrew Burer (TWITTER:@andrewburer)