McDaniels scores 22 to lead SDSU over Wyoming 84-54
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego State Aztecs needed a laugher after being embarrassed at Boise State in their Mountain West Conference opener.
They got it in their conference home opener against a Wyoming team that was down to seven scholarship players.
Jalen McDaniels had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Matt Mitchell scored 20 as SDSU ran past Wyoming 84-54 Tuesday night. Jordan Schakel scored 14 points and Devin Watson had 12 points and eight assists for the Aztecs (9-6, 1-1), who lost 88-64 Boise State on Saturday night.
“I thought the guys really made a step forward today,” coach Brian Dutcher said. “When we got back from Boise we landed at noon and we were on the court by 1 and we went hard, the kind of practice you have when you get beaten by 24 points.
“They have to defend harder for longer, they have to make multiple efforts and I thought tonight they did that. Were they perfect? No, they were nowhere near perfect, but it was a step in the right direction.”
Although the Cowboys came in with only four wins, “We’re at a point where the way we were playing, we can’t take anybody lightly,” Dutcher said.
The defeat at Boise was one of three double-digit losses for the Aztecs in a month.
“We definitely did have a bad taste, anytime you lose to one of your rivals like that,” Schakel said. “It’s not completely out from this game. We need to build on this game and keep taking steps in the right direction. It’s all about our effort and our energy and what we can control. It was a good game.”
After making only 3 of 21 3-point shots at BSU, the Aztecs made their first five from behind the arc — two each by Mitchell and Schakel — in taking a 23-9 lead against the Cowboys. They made 9 of 15 en route to a 48-25 halftime lead and 12 of 24 overall.
“You can never let a game or shot affect you mentally,” Schakel said. “We have a lot of shooters on this team and we’re going to keep shooting the right shot.”
The Aztecs beat Wyoming for the 11th straight time at Viejas Arena. Four of SDSU’s last 10 MWC wins have been by 30 points.
It was Wyoming’s worst loss since Jan. 29, 2011, when fourth-ranked SDSU won 96-57.
“I didn’t think our urgency was there, to get out and make them play inside the 3-point line, or even just be there on the catch,” coach Allen Edwards said. “And they made a few, which extended their lead, and then from there, we didn’t have a wounded mentality, a fight-back or a fly-around mentality. Regardless of what the score ended up being, I just didn’t think that was there tonight.”
Justin James scored 18, Hunter Thompson 11 and Trevon “TJ” Taylor 10 for Wyoming (4-12, 0-3), which lost for a third straight game and six of its last seven.
Wyoming: The Cowboys were without five players, including two of their top five scorers, Hunter Maldonado and Jake Hendricks. They added walk-on guard KC Henry, a redshirt sophomore, to the roster.
Wyoming hosts Utah State on Saturday.
San Diego State is at Air Force on Saturday.