Kawhi Leonard hadn’t made a 3-pointer all season before breaking
out against IUPUI.
The San Diego State sophomore made a career-high four
3-pointers, all in the second half, on his way to 20 points and 10
rebounds as No. 25 San Diego State remained undefeated with a 61-46
win over IUPUI on Sunday.
Leonard was 0-for-7 for the season from behind the line before
his outburst sparked the Aztecs’ come-from-behind win.
”My teammates gave me some good feeds,” said Leonard, who now
has 21 career double-doubles. ”I had open looks. I shot and made
them. Everything’s the same shot. If I miss a 3, I’m not thinking,
‘I just missed a 3.”’
Billy White was the only other Aztec to reach double figures,
finishing with 14. The Aztecs are 4-0 for the first time since the
2007-2008 season after winning their first game against a team from
the Summit League.
Freshman Mitch Patton scored 12 points in his first career start
to share team-high scoring honors with Alex Young for IUPUI (1-3),
which played a second ranked opponent in the same season for the
first time in the history of the program. The Jaguars lost at
Gonzaga 86-56 on Nov. 14.
For the second time in two days, the Aztecs started slowly.
After trailing by 22 midway through the first half of Saturday’s
79-70 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay, San Diego State fell behind
IUPUI by seven early on, but Aztecs coach Steve Fisher still saw
”We just couldn’t make shots,” he said ”Nobody was making
shots. That’s how (IUPUI) wanted to play the game. We just told our
guys to be patient, that we’re going to have opportunities.”
The Jaguars still led 23-20 at halftime as the Aztecs missed all
seven of their 3s in the first half against the IUPUI zone after
going 0-for-7 on Saturday. Part of IUPUI coach Ron Hunter’s game
plan was to stymie the Aztecs’ transition game and make them shoot
”I said, ‘If they want to beat us, they have to beat us from
outside,’ and they did,” Hunter said. ”We just said, ‘We can’t
let them get into their frenzy game.”’
San Diego State found its long-range touch after intermission.
The Aztecs opened the second half by sinking five consecutive
3-pointers, a streak capped by Leonard’s 3 that gave the Aztecs a
38-36 lead with 11:42 left in the game. That was his first
3-pointer after missing seven straight to open the season.
”We tell them, if they’re open, to take the shot, but when you
haven’t made one in two days, you start to get a little
tentative,” Fisher said. ”The rim starts to shrink.”
San Diego State sprang a press and Chase Tapley came up with a
steal, a layup and a free throw for a 41-36 lead, part of a 13-0
run that allowed the Aztecs to take control.
The Aztecs scored 25 points off of 17 Jaguar turnovers, matching
the season high they set in their loss at Gonzaga.