Senior forward Malik Pope ran down the floor, catching a perfectly-placed lob from freshman forward Matt Mitchell and slamming it home, taking a 14-0 lead and sending The Show into a frenzy.
Only 2 minutes and 30 seconds into the Brian Dutcher era, this play set the tone for what would be a dominant 91-52 opening game victory for San Diego State men’s basketball over San Diego Christian.
Filled to the brim with fastbreaks, defensive presses and a find-the-open-man offensive mindset, Dutcher’s Aztecs played with a new attitude that exemplifies the energy that the first-year head coach brings.
“First of all I want to apologize for not scoring 98,” Dutcher said. "That's what we scored in our first two outings. I thought we played pretty well offensively, the turnovers were a little up, but I thought they were guys playing too unselfish..."
All 12 Aztecs who touched the floor in the dominant victory contributed to the offensive outburst, paced by Pope's 20-point night.
"We just took advantage of the opportunity and let the game come to us," Pope said. "It was a fun first game back. We got the jitterbugs out, so it was really fun.”
Pope’s performance – 20 points on 9-11 shooting with only two attempted three pointers in 18 minutes– headlined the well-rounded offensive gameplan.
Dutcher said Pope looked laid back in his approach.
“You never felt like he was forcing him game,” Dutcher said of Pope. “That’s when we’re at our best, when we let the game come to us.”
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