Dec. 7, 2011
(San Diego, CA) - The USD Toreros (4-4) battled the SDSU Aztecs (9-2) the entire evening but came up short down the stretch in falling 74-62 before 4,708 fans at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Chris Manresa returned to the lineup after missing the UC Irvine game and posted his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Darian Norris (13 points) and Johnny Dee (12 points) also reached double figures. The Toreros didn't have an answer at the defensive end for the offensive fireworks from guard Chase Tapley (23 points) and DeShawn Stephens (16 points, 9 rebounds).
"The biggest thing is, I was happy with our guys," said head coach Bill Grier. "I thought they competed. That was a concern I had coming into this game was whether we would compete. We got off to a great start in the first half, but for whatever reason, we didn't play well at the start of the second half. To our guys credit they did battle back and get back into it. I just thought down the stretch that they (SDSU) made plays to win the game and we didn't."
The Toreros were ready to play from the start as they jumped out to a 14-2 lead 4 ½ minutes into the contest. They were still ahead 20-11 at the midway point of the first half before the Aztecs got untracked and rallied to take a 37-36 intermission lead as Tapley had 16 at the break.
It was the Aztecs that had the strong start in the second half as they went on a 9-2 run to take a 46-38 lead at the 17:35 mark on a James Rahon jumper. USD sophomore Dennis Kramer answered with a three-pointer and second basket to spark a mini-run for the Toreros. USD would inch ahead 53-52 at the 12:35 mark on back-to-back baskets by Manresa, but DeShawn Stephens put State up 55-54 with 11:56 to go and the Aztecs would hold on to the lead the rest of the way.
With 4:11 to go in the game, USD pulled to within 67-62 on a Darian Norris
jumper. Both teams failed to score over the next two minutes until SDSU's Jamaal Franklin buried a three at 1:46 to put the visitor's back up by 8 and ice the game. USD failed to score over the final four minutes of action.
For the game USD shot 47.3 percent from the field (26-55) but struggled from beyond the three-point arc (3-16). San Diego State connected on 50% from the floor (27-54) and outrebounded the Toreros 33-30.
USD returns to the JCP this Saturday, December 10th, to take on the Maine Black Bears in a 6:05 pm contest.