Viejas Arena, San Diego State University
During a six-minute stretch in the first half, it seemed like Chaminade could not miss from long distance.
With the Aztecs up 18-16 with a bit more than eight minutes left, the Silverswords went on a 21-8 run in which they hit five three-pointers, including three by Grant Dressler, to build the biggest lead of the night for either team.
The Aztecs would come out of the gate quickly in the second half and ended up winning the game 68-63. San Diego State had four players score in double figures, led by Jordan Schakel and Matt Mitchell (both ended with 16 points). Jalen McDaniels contributed with 14 points and seven rebounds and Jeremy Hemsley chipped in with 11 points.
At the start of the game, it seemed the Aztecs would be in control, scoring in their first two possessions to take a 5-0 lead. From there, the first half went downhill as the Aztecs offense became sloppy, sluggish, and had trouble scoring. The game was a back and forth through the first twelve minutes until Chaminade mounted their run and began to pull away. In the first half, the Aztecs were lax defensively and on offense, and the ball moved too slowly. The result was the Silverswords leading 37-31 after the first twenty minutes.
In the second half, the Aztecs began playing with some intensity and turned a six-point deficit into a seven-point lead.
San Diego State moved the ball better on offense, creating the spacing that they did not in the first half, and on defense forced the Silverswords to miss on their first eight shots out of the break. The momentum of the run was broken as Coach Brian Dutcher subbed players out of the starting lineup and gave his bench a chance to get some time. Twice the Silverswords would get within three, but each time the Aztecs responded with either a bucket or some free throws. The game was a tale of two halves and Coach Dutcher and staff made some important adjustments to bring the Aztecs back to life. Chaminade head coach Eric Boivard echoed that sentiment.
“I thought San Diego State made some good adjustments at halftime. They’re not used to guarding a team like us with five guys that can step out and shoot the three. They made some really good adjustments and really turned it up defensively in the second half. It was much harder for us to score. I give them credit along those lines.”
The Aztecs open their season against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday at Viejas Arena. They will look to rebound with a better team performance and get off on the right foot.