It's not a new formula for San Diego State's basketball program. Play really good defense, win basketball games.
They did both against an overmatched San Jose State club on Friday night at Viejas Arena, forcing 19 turnovers in a 78-52 win.
A trio of sequences in the first half defined how this game would go. Chad Baker-Mazara hit a jumper then immediately cut in front of the inbounds pass for a steal and an uncontested dunk. Baker-Mazara scored nine straight points for the Aztecs and his effort jump-started the runaway.
Keshad Johnson followed suit with an emphatic block of a Spartan layup attempt, ran the floor and was rewarded with a nice pass from Adam Seiko for a 2-handed jam.
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Those two were just appetizers.
Lamont Butler knocked the ball away from a pair of SJSU players and somehow saw Matt Bradley break the other way. Butler passed the ball BETWEEN HIS LEGS, hitting Bradley in stride for a layup that made Viejas Arena go bonkers.
SDSU made sure they kept the pedal down in the 2nd half to secure the lopsided win. Head coach Brian Dutcher didn't empty his bench until his club had a 26-point lead with 2:00 to play.
The reality of their situation is they need to beat bad teams convincingly to improve their March Madness resume. The Aztecs are sitting squarely on the bubble and on Monday face arguably their toughest test of the season.
A trip to Laramie, Wyoming to face a Cowpokes club that's 22-5 overall but a flawless 12-0 at home this season.
A win there could very likely give the Aztecs an all but guaranteed spot in the NCAA Tournament with two games left to play before the Mountain West Conference Tournament.