No. 24 San Diego St. 83, San Diego Christian 52
SAN DIEGO (AP)
With another blowout victory assured, San Diego State coach Steve Fisher put walk-ons Aaron Douglas and Ryan Staten into their first college basketball game.
Douglas and Staten stood out because they didn't have their last names on their jerseys. They each scored, though, which was a big deal for their teammates and Fisher after an easy 83-52 win against NAIA San Diego Christian on Thursday night.
''It was nice to see two guys that hadn't even suited up before, two walk-ons, get in at the end of the game and guys worked to get them quality shots, not just a shot that they threw up,'' Fisher said.
Staten made his only field goal and one of two free throws for three points. Douglas missed his only shot but made one of two free throws.
Junior guard DeShawn Stephens scored a career-high 18 points for the Aztecs.
Stephens, a junior college transfer, punctuated his night with a rebound dunk in the closing minutes. Garrett Green added 14 points, Chase Tapley and Jamaal Franklin had 11 each, and Alec Williams scored 10 for the Aztecs (13-2) who won their sixth straight game.
The Aztecs are off to the second-fastest start in school history. Last season's team opened 15-0 en route to the best record in school history, 34-3.
The Aztecs are playing the easiest portion of their schedule. They beat UC Riverside by 25 points, Elon by 26 and routed Redlands by 51 last week. Their final non-conference game is against winless Chicago State on Tuesday.
''More walk-ons played,'' Tapley said about the latest blowout win.
''We like to see the walk-ons get on,'' Stephens said. ''It excites everybody when the walk-ons get in the game because those guys work just as hard as we do every day in practice; they stay after and shoot just like we stay after and shoot, and everything.''
San Diego State opens Mountain West Conference play at home on Jan. 14 against No. 17 UNLV, the preseason favorite. The Aztecs and BYU shared the regular-season conference title last season before San Diego State beat the Cougars in the conference tournament championship game.
Ryan Rubino had 13 points for the Hawks (4-7).
The Aztecs beat San Diego Christian 88-69 in their home opener last season.
With forward Tim Shelton resting his knees for the start of conference play and Xavier Thames missing his third straight game with a knee injury, the Aztecs suited up Douglas and Staten. Jeremy Castleberry, another walk-on, sat out and walk-on Narbeh Ebrahimian was shaken up when fell hard to the court after making a layup in the first half. He later returned.
''They are playing really well as a team,'' SCC coach Tim Cook said of the Aztecs. ''They are not relying so much on one or two different guys to do a lot of things. I think that carries over and they look like they are playing really, really well together. That makes a huge difference when you're trying to go into the league, because defensively and offensively, they look like they are on the same page.''
San Diego State led 44-26 at halftime. The Hawks showed some life in the second half with a 9-3 run that pulled them to 55-39 with 13:37 to play before the Aztecs opened it up again.
Thames is expected back for the Chicago State game.
''We played hard,'' Fisher said. ''We're a team that almost without fail has played hard. And when we play hard, you usually play smarter, and I thought we did that tonight, also.''