SAN DIEGO (AP) — After a rough ending to their stay in Maui, the San Diego State Aztecs were ready for a laugher.
They got one against road-weary Jackson State.
Jordan Schakel and Matt Mitchell scored 15 points apiece for San Diego State, which routed the Tigers 87-44 Tuesday night. It was SDSU’s biggest victory margin against a Division I team since beating United States International University by 45, 138-93 on Feb. 20, 1986.
The Aztecs (4-2) bounced back from their appearance at the Maui Invitational, where they were routed by then-No. 1 Duke, rallied to beat Xavier and then were routed by Iowa State.
“I told the guys that every day you’re challenged,” coach Brian Dutcher said. “We were challenged against Xavier and came back, we we’re challenged against Iowa State and didn’t fight hard enough, so I said this is the next challenge. We talked about rebounding. We have to improve our rebounding. Talked about our conversion defense. Those are our areas that we felt we needed to improve and I thought we showed some progress in all of them.”
SDSU outrebounded Jackson State 44-29, with Nathan Mensah clearing 11.
“Today I think we took it more personal than we did in Maui and we did a lot better job rebounding and getting back in transition,” Mitchell said.
“On the defensive end, rebounding and getting back in transition were two spots we really needed to pick up on and practice,” Schakel said. “We learned a lot in Maui.”
“Our energy was great this game, starting with the defensive end, and I think that really triggers everything for us.”
Jalen McDaniels added 14 points, Nolan Narain 11 and Devin Watson 10 for SDSU.
Chris Howell and Jeremiah Bozeman scored nine points apiece for Jackson State (1-6). The Tigers had more turnovers, 23, than shots made, 15.
Tigers coach Wayne Brent said the Aztecs were just too much.
“Man, big, athletic team, pushing the ball up the floor, good in transition,” he said. “Those first five guys all can dribble, pass and score, so it’s hard to lock into one guy because they’ve got so many guys in their first five who can score the ball. They’ve got a lot of firepower in that first five.”
SDSU jumped out to leads of 9-0 and 16-2. Hemsley, Mitchell and Watson each made a 3-pointer for a 9-0 lead that forced the Tigers to take a timeout. McDaniels made a baseline jumper for an 11-0 lead before Jackson State made its first basket, a reverse layup by Venji Wallis.
The Aztecs led 49-21 at halftime. The Tigers had only eight field goals while committing 16 turnovers.
The Tigers have been on the road most of the season. This was their second stop on a four-game West Coast swing.
“For teams in our league, this is what we have to do to kind of pay the bills, go out and play the guaranteed games,” Brent said.
Jackson State: The Tigers went 0-2 in San Diego. They lost 76-58 at San Diego on Saturday night despite leading by nine points midway through the first half.
San Diego State: The Aztecs needed a laugher after a rough appearance in Maui, where they were lost by 26 points to Duke, rallied from a 19-point deficit to beat Xavier 79-74 and then lost 87-57 to Iowa State to finish sixth in the eight-team tourney.
Jackson State visits Santa Clara on Thursday night.
San Diego State plays at Illinois State on Saturday as part of the Missouri Valley-Mountain West Challenge.