The first 20 minutes of San Diego State's season was a thing of beauty.
Jordan Schakel and newcomer Malachi Flynn scored 15 points apiece and Nathan Mensah had 11 rebounds for San Diego State, which ran past Texas Southern 77-42 Tuesday night.
San Diego State led the entire game and was up 40-10 with just less than four minutes to play in the first half. It was 48-13 at halftime, after SDSU made nine 3-pointers and outrebounded Texas Southern 30-16.
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"The first half was fun to watch," third-year coach Brian Dutcher said. "We guarded at an elite level, shared the ball, played well."
SDSU didn't keep up the intensity in the second half.
"Then the second half was just tough to get through," Dutcher said. "We had 10 assists at half then we only had two assists in the second half. I think the thing that would have made it easier is if we'd made some free throws. Games like this, you make your free throws the lead stays what it is, but we missed so many free throws."
Overall, though, Dutcher was pleased.
"This is a good team, a good group of guys that appears to be able to defend at a pretty high level. Our defense has been pretty solid and at the end of the day that's how we're going to win, with our defense and our rebounding."
The Tigers of the SWAC didn't crack 20 points until Yahuza Rasas made a layup with 11 minutes to go to make it 57-21.
Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones was ejected after being called for his second technical of the game, with 7:14 to go.
The Aztecs won the opening tipoff and Schakel drained the first of his four 3-pointers in the first half to get the rout started. The junior guard made another shot from behind the arc two minutes later. Flynn's first points with the Aztecs came on a corner 3 for a 15-6 lead. Freshman Keshad Johnson's first points also came on a 3 to give the Aztecs their 40-10 lead.
"It felt pretty good," Schakel said of the hot start. "I was glad that it happened in the first couple minutes to get us off to a good start. I think we played well in the first half. It's always devastating when you're able to make 3s at a high clip like that. We have a lot of good shooters on this team and when we move the ball like that it's bound to happen."
Johnson added 10 rebounds for SDSU, which outrebounded the Tigers 62-41.
Tyrik Armstrong led the Tigers with 10 points.
"I thought they did a tremendous job," Jones said about the Aztecs. "I thought they played with a great deal of urgency and poise. ... Certainly hats off to those guys. I've watched them play for several years. They've lost a lot of guys last year and it seems like they've done a tremendous job of reloading."
Jones had an interesting exchange with referee Mike Scyphers before getting his first technical, after Justin Hopkins was called for a foul.
"He called a flopping foul on one of our kids and our kid got hit by a kid 240 pounds and he went down," Jones said. "It wasn't a charging foul, he got hit in the hip and he went down. (Scyphers) said, 'He shouldn't have fell,' and I said, 'So if Mike Tyson hits a guy, he shouldn't fall?'
Scyphers responded: "Don't start bringing up Mike Tyson to me."
Texas Southern: It was a frustrating night for the Tigers, who were simply outmanned in dropping to 0-4 all-time against SDSU. Last year, the Tigers lost 103-64, also in San Diego. Jones was whistled for his first technical with eight minutes to go in the first half.
SDSU: After losing their senior backcourt of Devin Watson and Jeremy Hemsley and having Jalen McDaniels turn pro, the Aztecs unveiled their new-look lineup that includes transfers Flynn (Washington State) and KJ Feagin (Santa Clara) in the backcourt, and forward Yanni Wetzell (Vanderbilt). The Aztecs are trying to get back to the NCAA Tournament after missing the postseason last year.
Texas Southern is at Wichita State on Saturday, the second of six straight road games for the Tigers to open the season.
SDSU visits former conference rival BYU on Saturday. The Aztecs beat the Cougars 90-81 in San Diego last season.