Aztecs Open With a Bang

SDSU puts up 91 points in win over San Diego Christian College

Brian Dutcher waited a long time to be a head coach.

For 27 years he was an assistant to Steve Fisher, first at Michigan and then at San Diego State. Finally, on Friday night at Viejas Arena, Brian Dutcher got to be the man in charge of a game that counts. After all this time it was like business as usual.

“If I was taking over at (the age of) 29, I might have had a few more butterflies but at 58 I’ve seen a lot of basketball,” said Dutcher.

The wait was worth it. SDSU opened the Dutcher era with a 91-52 win over San Diego Christian College. The Aztecs won the game in a way they were expected to win it; big.

Senior forward Malik Pope was a major reason for it. Pope scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds in just 18 minutes on the floor. The highlight came in the first half when Pope grabbed a 25-foot lob from Matt Mitchell and crushed an alley-oop dunk, part of a 14-0 run to start the game.

San Diego State played 12 guys and all of them scored. It was the kind of offensive performance that has not been seen the last few years on Montezuma Mesa.

Dutcher’s biggest priority was improving SDSU’s often stagnant offense. The Aztecs are moving the ball more and looking for quicker shots. Against San Diego Christian they averaged just 12 seconds per possession, a faster tempo than they typically played with in recent seasons.

In a scrimmage against USC the Aztecs scored 98 points and won. In an exhibition game against U.C. San Diego the Aztecs again scored 98 points and won. Coach Dutch said this may be his first win but he might try and manipulate the official record books.

“I’m gonna talk to (Aztecs Sports Information Director) Mike May. I know I’m only 1-0 but I’m going to try and get that closed-door scrimmage game and that exhibition on my record,” said Dutcher. “You know at 58 years old I can use all the wins I can get. I’ve only got one so far.”

With the way his team played on Friday there should be plenty more coming. His next shot at a W comes on Tuesday when the Aztecs head to the desert to play Arizona State.

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