San Diego St.-Miami (Ohio) Preview
San Diego State has started slowly in each of its two first games at the CBE Classic.
Fortunately for the 18th-ranked Aztecs, they have Kawhi Leonard.
The sophomore forward will try to keep his team unbeaten as it plays its final game in Oxford, Ohio, on Monday night against consolation host Miami.
In the opener of their three-game stay, the Aztecs (4-0) fell behind 28-6 to Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday but then completed the largest comeback in coach Steve Fisher's 12 seasons at the school.
In the 79-70 win, Leonard had 16 of his 23 points in the second half. Chase Tapley also chipped in 12 of his 14 points in that period.
Leonard had a similar performance Sunday after his team entered the second half trailing by three to IUPUI. He scored 14 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes to lead San Diego State to a 61-46 victory, hitting his first four 3-pointers of the season.
Leonard, averaging 20.5 points and 11.0 rebounds this season, was previously 0 for 6 from behind the arc. Billy White was the only other Aztecs player to reach double figures with 14 points.
"My teammates gave me some good feeds," Leonard said. "I had open looks. I shot and made them. Everything's the same shot. If I miss a 3, I'm not thinking, 'I just missed a 3.'"
Leonard also finished with 10 rebounds to extend his career-best streak of double-doubles to seven dating back to last season's Mountain West Conference tournament.
He'll try to continue that run and help the Aztecs match their best start in four seasons by topping the RedHawks.
Miami bounced back from Tuesday's 79-45 rout at top-ranked Duke to edge IUPUI 59-58 in Saturday night's Classic opener. The RedHawks, though, couldn't follow with another victory despite rallying from an early 11-point deficit Sunday against Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Miami took a five-point lead at halftime but lost 69-65. RedHawks junior forward Julian Mavunga got his team within two on a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left but missed his final two shots from behind the arc.
Senior forward Nick Winbush had a team-best 15 points for Miami (2-2), which is scoring just 57.2 points per game this season. San Diego State is averaging 75.0 points.
Despite their team's struggles, Winbush (11.3), Mavunga (11.3) and senior swingman Antonio Ballard (14.0), who returned from an injured hand in the win over IUPUI, are all averaging in double figures.
The RedHawks have dropped 15 in a row to Top 25 foes, while the Aztecs have won 14 straight against unranked opponents.
This is the first meeting between the teams.