Nov 14, 2016; Spokane, WA, USA; San Diego State Aztecs forward Zylan Cheatham (14) goes up against Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)
James Snook/James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Jordan Mathews missed a couple of shots early in No. 14 Gonzaga's game against San Diego State.
“The guys said keep shooting,” Mathews said.
So he did.
Mathews scored 17 points, going 5 of 7 on 3-pointers, and the Bulldogs beat San Diego State 69-48 while holding the Aztecs to 28 percent shooting Monday night.
“We executed our game plan, made them do what we wanted them to do,” Mathews said.
Zach Collins added 15 points and Nigel Williams-Goss 10 for Gonzaga (2-0) in the ESPN College Hoops Marathon game.
Trey Kell and Jeremy Hemsley each had 14 points for San Diego State (1-1).
The teams, which last played in 2010, have been among the most successful in the West in recent years. But on this night the Aztecs had trouble scoring, making only 16 of 56 shots and going long periods without a basket.
“We've been working on that zone for a while,” Mathews said about Gonzaga's defense. “It makes it really hard for anybody to score on us.”
Gonzaga won despite shooting just 39 percent.
“The defense was awesome,” coach Mark Few said. “They were flying around and anticipating, helping each other.”
Mathews is a graduate transfer from California who did not arrive on campus until September.
“On game night he raises his game up,” Few said.
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher thought the Aztecs hurt themselves.
“We lost our mental capacity to think at the offensive end,” Fisher said.
“Everything we did was too fast,” he added. “It looked like we were trying to score 10 points in one possession, and you can't do that. We helped do ourselves in.”
The Aztecs made only five of their first 21 shots and fell behind 23-12.
Mathews had a dunk and a 3-pointer during a 9-0 run to lift Gonzaga to a 34-17 lead.
Gonzaga led 36-21 at halftime after holding the Aztecs to 20 percent shooting. They did not have a field goal in the final 6:27 of the first.
“We played a team tonight that is just as good as any team in the country,” Fisher said. “So in order for us to hang tough, you have to be able to shoot better than 20 percent.”
After San Diego State got within 10, Mathews sank a trio of 3-pointers in the span of a couple of minutes to push Gonzaga's lead to 45-29.
The Zags followed that with a 16-0 run, getting three baskets from Collins, for a 61-31 lead. The Aztecs were scoreless for more than 9 minutes, missing 11 shots from the field, and did not threaten again.
San Diego State was receiving votes in The Associated Press Top 25, but likely will get fewer now. … Gonzaga has been No. 14 for two straight weeks and might move up.
San Diego State did not have an assist in the first half and wound up with only five in the game on 16 field goals. Gonzaga had 16 assists.
San Diego State: The Aztecs came in with three straight victories in Spokane, beating Gonzaga in 2010 and winning two NCAA Tournament games here in 2014. But they couldn't muster much offense against the Zags.
Gonzaga: A good early-season test for the Bulldogs, who proved they can beat a strong defensive team. Their 2010 loss to San Diego State was only their fifth home loss in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.
San Diego State hosts San Diego Christian on Wednesday.