Mitchell, McDaniels boost San Diego St. past UNLV 94-56
SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego State returned to its defensive roots, and showed its budding offense on Saturday in a 38-point rout of UNLV.
Matt Mitchell scored 21 points, Jalen McDaniels added 18 and San Diego State beat the Runnin’ Rebels 94-56.
“This is the first real 40-minute effort we have had, and I think it was keyed at the defensive end,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said.
Mitchell shot 7 of 9 from the floor and had a game-high three steals, and McDaniels pulled in 12 rebounds to notch his sixth double-double of the season. Malik Pope scored 17 and grabbed nine rebounds while helping the Aztecs (15-10, 7-7 Mountain West Conference) to a 41-30 rebounding advantage.
Max Montana chipped in 17 points, including 5 of 9 on 3-pointers, for the Aztecs who shot 50.7 percent from the field (36-71) and pulled to .500 in conference play. Nine of 10 players scored for San Diego State, and the Aztecs have won 65 straight when shooting greater than 50 percent.
San Diego State dished out 22 assists for the second consecutive game. Senior guard Trey Kell led with six assists, his second consecutive game with that many.
“The kids are playing the right way. They’re sharing the ball,” Dutcher said.
Jovan Mooring scored 16 points and Shakur Juiston added 12 for UNLV (19-8, 8-6), which had its three-game win streak snapped. “Everyone is playing hard, we just weren’t playing very smart,” UNLV coach Marvin Menzies said.
The Aztecs have had a history of second half collapses this season, losing six games in which they were tied or led at halftime. “It’s been a while since we’ve been able to put two halves like that together,” Kell said. “We usually get off to a great start in the first half, and then kind of slack off in the second half and make it more interesting than it needs to be.”
The Aztecs, now riding a two-game winning streak, earned revenge following an 88-78 road loss at UNLV last month in which the Runnin’ Rebels shot 58.6 percent from the field.
It was all Aztecs as they rushed off to a 10-2 lead to open the game. UNLV’s 14 turnovers in the first half disrupted its offensive flow leading to a season-low 28 first-half points.
UNLV was unable to find itself after halftime, falling victim to more turnovers and an 11-1 run led by Montana’s two 3-pointers. The Runnin’ Rebels finished with 19 turnovers.
“It’s a good time of year to be playing your best basketball,” Dutcher said.
UNLV: After beating San Diego State at home in the first meeting, UNLV was blown out by 38 on the road. The two teams have met 69 times, and Saturday’s game marks the largest margin of victory for either team.
San Diego State: With Matt Mitchell leading the Aztecs with 21 points, Saturday’s victory marks the fifth consecutive game in which an underclassmen has led the Aztecs in scoring.
UNLV returns home to play Fresno State on Wednesday.
San Diego State travels to Air Force on Wednesday.