San Diego gets 53-48 upset win over San Diego State
SAN DIEGO (AP) Duda Sanadze and the San Diego Toreros made the first-ever Bill Walton Basketball Festival an especially memorable one.
Sanadze scored 15 points to lead the Toreros to an upset of the San Diego State Aztecs 53-48 at Petco Park on Sunday.
The contest was the finale of the festival hosted at the home of the San Diego Padres. The temporary court was built on top of the baseball diamond for the weeklong festival, which also featured several local high school games.
''Finally, we got a win against San Diego State,'' Sanadze said. ''I'm thankful to my teammates, my coach, and everyone that I get to graduate with a win against them.''
Olin Carter III added 12 more for the Toreros (3-5), who poured onto the outdoor court following the final buzzer to celebrate.
''This just shows how good we can be,'' Carter said. ''Coming out and playing a good half like we did against San Diego State, it shows what we can do the rest of the season. We can build off of this.''
The Aztecs (5-4) pulled within 47-45 with 1:08 remaining, but Tyler Williams hit two free throws to pad the advantage.
After trailing 31-13 at halftime, the Aztecs used a 15-3 run over 7:53 to cut the Toreros lead. San Diego had its biggest advantage at 39-18 with 15:27 remaining in the second half.
Trey Kell had 13 points for the Aztecs, who shot just 31 percent.
''It was just something that each of us individually are going to have to figure out how to find that fire within ourselves,'' Kell said. ''Tonight, we didn't have it.''
Malik Pope hit a 3-pointer with 4:24 remaining to pull the Aztecs within 46-39. It was the first time the lead was less than double-digits in the second half.
The outdoor venue did not play a factor, according to both teams, as the weather conditions were 72 degrees with slight winds.
''The venue didn't have anything to do with it,'' Kell said. ''No matter what the venue is, we have to play better. It had to do with us individually, not the venue.''
All of Sanadze's points came on 3-point shots as he went 5 for 10 from long range. The win was the third straight for the Toreros under first-year coach Lamont Smith.
''I'm tremendously proud of our guys,'' Smith said. ''I thought we grew up tonight. I thought tonight we got a little bit better in every area. It was a tale of two halfs, but our guys made enough plays in the second half to win.''
The win for the Toreros snaps a nine-game losing streak to the heavily favored Aztecs. The two teams play a cross-town rivalry game each season.
''The atmosphere was great,'' Carter said. ''I've never played in a game like this before, so I was just embracing the moment and taking it all in.''
San Diego outrebounded the Aztecs 23-11 in the first half, including 8-1 on offensive rebounds. The Toreros built their biggest lead of the game at 39-18 with 15:27 remaining.
''It was not a wonderful event in terms of an outcome for San Diego State,'' Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said. ''You don't win when you play 15 minutes of basketball. USD took it to us early and often. I'm a big believer in you get what you deserve in life, and that's what happened to us today. We got what we deserved.''
San Diego: After holding San Diego State to 13 points in the first half, the Toreros managed just 22 of their own in the second half.
San Diego State: Freshman guard Jeremy Hemsley had averaged 13 points coming into the contest but managed just six in this one.
San Diego State hosts Biola on Monday.
San Diego hosts Denver on Wednesday.
The north end of the court proved troublesome for both teams, as the Aztecs shot 15 percent on the basket that has the Petco Park scoreboard, one of the biggest in baseball, behind it. The Toreros shot 28 percent on that end of the court in the second half.
The Aztecs' last outdoor game resulted in a lop-sided loss when Syracuse defeated San Diego State 62-49 aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier the USS Midway in 2012.