SD State remains unbeaten with win over IUPUI
Kawhi Leonard hadn't made a 3-pointer all season before breaking out against IUPUI.
The San Diego State sophomore made a career-high four 3-pointers, all in the second half, on his way to 20 points and 10 rebounds as No. 25 San Diego State remained undefeated with a 61-46 win over IUPUI on Sunday.
Leonard was 0-for-7 for the season from behind the line before his outburst sparked the Aztecs' come-from-behind win.
''My teammates gave me some good feeds,'' said Leonard, who now has 21 career double-doubles. ''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.'''
Billy White was the only other Aztec to reach double figures, finishing with 14. The Aztecs are 4-0 for the first time since the 2007-2008 season after winning their first game against a team from the Summit League.
Freshman Mitch Patton scored 12 points in his first career start to share team-high scoring honors with Alex Young for IUPUI (1-3), which played a second ranked opponent in the same season for the first time in the history of the program. The Jaguars lost at Gonzaga 86-56 on Nov. 14.
For the second time in two days, the Aztecs started slowly. After trailing by 22 midway through the first half of Saturday's 79-70 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay, San Diego State fell behind IUPUI by seven early on, but Aztecs coach Steve Fisher still saw improvement.
''We just couldn't make shots,'' he said ''Nobody was making shots. That's how (IUPUI) wanted to play the game. We just told our guys to be patient, that we're going to have opportunities.''
The Jaguars still led 23-20 at halftime as the Aztecs missed all seven of their 3s in the first half against the IUPUI zone after going 0-for-7 on Saturday. Part of IUPUI coach Ron Hunter's game plan was to stymie the Aztecs' transition game and make them shoot from outside.
''I said, 'If they want to beat us, they have to beat us from outside,' and they did,'' Hunter said. ''We just said, 'We can't let them get into their frenzy game.'''
San Diego State found its long-range touch after intermission. The Aztecs opened the second half by sinking five consecutive 3-pointers, a streak capped by Leonard's 3 that gave the Aztecs a 38-36 lead with 11:42 left in the game. That was his first 3-pointer after missing seven straight to open the season.
''We tell them, if they're open, to take the shot, but when you haven't made one in two days, you start to get a little tentative,'' Fisher said. ''The rim starts to shrink.''
San Diego State sprang a press and Chase Tapley came up with a steal, a layup and a free throw for a 41-36 lead, part of a 13-0 run that allowed the Aztecs to take control.
The Aztecs scored 25 points off of 17 Jaguar turnovers, matching the season high they set in their loss at Gonzaga.