No. 18 San Diego St. 88, San Diego Christian 69

The No. 18 San Diego State Aztecs raised a banner, broke a

sweat, beat an NAIA school in their home opener and immediately

started focusing on Wednesday night’s game against Saint

Mary’s.

Kawhi Leonard and Chase Tapley scored 14 points apiece and the

Aztecs breezed to an 88-69 victory against San Diego Christian on

Friday night.

The Hawks, an NAIA team from suburban El Cajon, stayed close for

the first 13 minutes before it became apparent how overmatched they

were.

”Fisher really took it easy on us,” Hawks coach Conrad Sun

said. ”I’ve seen San Diego State play against other teams. They

could have very easily put us to bed in the first two or three

minutes. I think they let us play through it. This could have been

a 100-point game. Coach Fisher is a first-class guy.”

The Aztecs are 6-0 for the first time since 2006-07, when they

won their first eight games.

San Diego State, in the Top 25 for the first time, opened with

five straight games away from home, including a 79-76 victory at

then-No. 11 Gonzaga.

All 11 Aztecs scored against San Diego Christian. Billy White

had 10 points.

”It was nice that we could play the bench, finally, for

extended minutes, and D.J. (Gay) didn’t have to play 30-plus

minutes and Kawhi didn’t have to play 30-plus minutes,” Fisher

said. ”So, it was good to reward some of the guys that have worked

so hard and that are good enough to be out there to help us

win.

”I thought that San Diego Christian played extremely hard, made

some shots when they were guarded, made some shots when they

weren’t guarded,” Fisher said. ”We’re pleased to be 6-0. We have

now turned the page to start thinking about that next one.”

Fisher split up the playing time so well that 10 Aztecs had at

least 12 minutes.

”We won’t beat Saint Mary’s if we play the way we did today,”

Gay said. ”The energy will be there Wednesday. There will be no

underestimating or overlooking our opponents or anything of that

nature. They’re a very good team and that’s something we’re all

looking forward to.”

Aaron Felix led the Hawks with 21 points while Tyler Mutton had

19. The Hawks considered this an exhibition game and remained

3-4.

The Hawks stayed close for the first 13 minutes before SDSU went

on a 15-4 run to take a 38-27 lead. Leonard made a 3-point shot and

had a tip during the stretch. Leonard made another 3-pointer with

six seconds left to give the Aztecs a 44-34 halftime lead.

The Aztecs also had a few sloppy moments early on. Leonard

missed an easy layup and a windmill slam dunk attempt that bounced

off the iron, leading to a jumper by Mutton to cut SDSU’s lead to

15-11

Before the game, the Aztecs unveiled their 2010 Mountain West

Conference tournament championship banner. That victory earned the

Aztecs a berth in the NCAA tournament, where they lost 62-59 to

Tennessee. San Diego State is 0-6 in NCAA tournament

appearances.