San Diego State only had to wait a day to atone for one of the worst losses in Steve Fisher’s 17 seasons as Aztecs coach.
Redshirt freshman Zylan Cheatham scored 14 of his career-high 16 points in the first half and San Diego State beat Biola 73-53 Monday night.
Freshman Jeremy Hemsley also had 16 for SDSU (6-4), which was embarrassed 53-48 by San Diego on Sunday in a game played at Petco Park, the downtown home of the San Diego Padres. The Toreros came out fired up and ran to a 31-13 halftime lead against the listless Aztecs.
"I was really embarrassed by my performance personally and our performance as a whole yesterday," Cheatham said. "That’s not me. Regardless of how many points I scored or anything, I didn’t feel I had the energy that I usually do and I was really disappointed in that.
"My focal point today was pretty much to just sit down on defense; I mean, play as hard as I possibly could , dive for loose balls, just do whatever I got to do to get our team going."
Cheatham scored only four points on Sunday.
The Aztecs came out with more of a purpose Monday night, although the Eagles kept up for the first 11 minutes.
SDSU went on a 9-0 run, including a baseline shot by Cheatham, to take a 27-18 lead.
In the final minute of the first half, Cheatham had a nice pass to Winston Shepard for a jumper. Cheatham had an air ball 3-point attempt but Skylar Spencer tipped it in at the buzzer to give SDSU a 45-28 halftime lead.
On Nov. 21, the Aztecs were embarrassed 49-43 at home by Arkansas-Little Rock. Two days later, they rebounded by routing East Carolina 79-54.
The USD loss, Hemsley said, was worse than the loss UALR.
"That game yesterday was embarrassing," Hemsley said. "I take full responsibility for a part of that loss because I didn’t do a good job of holding the Aztec name. The tone starts with me and I don’t think I did a good job of doing anything to help us win. The way we responded today was good. We didn’t continue to hold our heads. I know we disappointed a lot of people but I think we responded well."
Shepard scored 11 off the bench.
SDSU’s Trey Kell went scoreless in the first half and sat out the second half with a sore left knee.
Cheatham’s previous high was 13, first against San Diego Christian on Nov. 18 and again in an upset win against California on Nov. 26. He missed last season with a broken foot.
Terrell Funches and Dakari Archer scored 16 apiece for Biola, an NAIA team.
The Eagles made four 3-pointers in the first 11 minutes, including one by Funches.
"We figured they were going to be mad and they were going to be upset and we were sure they were going to play hard, even though we’re not a Division I team," Biola coach Dave Holmquist said. "Anytime you come off a loss the coaches are upset the players are upset and that tends to turn into added motivation so I figured they’d play hard.
"It was an enjoyable game for us," Holmquist said. "We’re not used to that kind of length. We only had five rebounds in the first half. They’re long and they’re athletic and they play hard. Just their size bothered us a lot."
Viejas Arena, which seats 12,414, was about half full at tipoff.
Biola: The Eagles faced the Aztecs for the first time
San Diego State: The Aztecs’ streak of 44 straight non-conference wins against teams from California was snapped in the defeat to USD.
Biola hosts Life Pacific on Wednesday night.
San Diego State hosts Nicholls State on Thursday night.