NCAA BK

S Utah not quite up to challenge vs No. 24 SDSU

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SAN DIEGO (AP)

Southern Utah has played at Utah State, at California, at home against UNLV and then on the road again against No. 24 San Diego State.

They lost every one of those games, and none were close.

''I believe in playing good teams in nonconference to prepare us for conference,'' coach Nick Robinson said after a 76-39 loss to SDSU on Wednesday night. ''Our schedule has been tough, but we have resilient players and a staff that wants to take that challenge, and tonight wasn't our night.''

Xavier Thames scored 16 points, Josh Davis had 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Aqeel Quinn added 14 points for the Aztecs (8-1), who had been off for nine days for finals.

Trey Kennedy had 10 points for Southern Utah (1-7).

SDSU had 4-0 lead before Southern Utah touched the ball, and raced to leads of 21-2 and 37-4. It was 41-11 at halftime.

''I thought we fought a little bit more in the second half, but it was a great opportunity to play against a good, ranked San Diego State team,'' Robinson said. ''We didn't step up to the challenge, but we'll get back, watch the film and try to improve as we prepare for our next game.''

The Thunderbirds had two shot-clock violations and a handful of air balls in the first half.

Late in the first half, SDSU's student section, ''The Show,'' appeared to dupe Kennedy into thinking the shot clock was winding down and he launched a 3-pointer with about 16 seconds still on the clock. He was fouled by Skylar Spencer and made all three free throws to make it 39-9.

The student section also chanted ''single digits'' before Southern Utah's Juwan Major hit a jumper in the final seconds of the first half to pull to 40-11.

Southern Utah's 11 points in the first half were the second-fewest allowed in a Division I game this season and the fewest allowed in any half by SDSU since 1996-97.

SDSU sophomore forward Winston Shepard didn't suit up due to unspecified conduct issues. Shepard was suspended for three games last season by the NCAA for violating an unspecified rule.

The Aztecs were missing Dwayne Polee, who was ill.

Despite facing an outmanned opponent, the Aztecs still had some rough stretches and made only 11 of 28 free throws.

Southern Utah will play at the University of San Diego on Saturday and then take a break until opening Big Sky play at North Dakota on Jan. 2.

Tagged: Southern Utah, San Diego, San Diego State, Utah

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