“They’re talented at every position. They’re well-coached,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said. “But I want to get them into a close game. I’d like to find a way to get the game close down the stretch. And I think Coach K would like that, too. He’s not served very well by winning all these games by 20 or 30. Now, I know he enjoys it, but when he gets to the ACC, they’re going to have some challenging games. I hope we’re the first one.”
Dutcher will have to figure out a way to try to stop freshman Zion Williamson, who is 6-foot-7, 285 pounds.
The beefiest Aztecs player is Matt Mitchell, who is 6-6, 230.
“We’re giving up some weight but we’ll be close. I think that will be a fun matchup,” Dutcher said.
“I’ve said I want to play Duke,” Dutcher added. “I’d just as soon it was in the championship game of the Maui Invitational. But I don’t want to go over there and not have a chance to play the No. 1 team in the country. That’s why these kids come to San Diego State. We promise them we’ll play marquee games and give them the opportunity to play on the biggest stage.”
Said Mitchell: “We have a good feel for our team and where we are right now, but I think Duke will be a test. Again, being the No. 1 team in the country, it’ll be a test for us to see where we are.”
McDaniels, who returned for his sophomore season after considering entering the NBA draft, opened the game with a 3-pointer and had seven points, four rebounds and one steal in the opening five minutes. Later in the half, he made an alley-oop pass to Nathan Mensah for a slam dunk and a 34-17 lead.
But McDaniels also got into early foul trouble and played only 10 minutes in the first half.
Mitchell and Schackel each had 10 points to help SDSU take a 49-28 halftime lead. Mensah finished with 11 points and Jeremy Hemsley had 10.
Duke had a 48-11 lead against Eastern Michigan just before halftime of an 84-46 win Wednesday night.
“I wouldn’t say it scares us,” Mitchell says of seeing scores like that. “Everybody’s human. Of course you have to take notice of what they’re capable of but we’ll tackle that once we get there, and excel in practice and hopefully get there and excel at what we do best.”
Derrick Bruce and Jeremy Combs scored 15 points apiece for Texas Southern (1-3).
Texas Southern: This was the fourth of six straight road games for the Tigers to begin the season. They lost 104-67 at Gonzaga on Saturday night and 85-73 at Iowa State on Monday night.
San Diego State: The Aztecs, who won their first two games for the first time in four seasons, head into the game against Duke having beaten Arkansas-Pine Bluff by 16 and Texas Southern by 39. The Aztecs will face the Blue Devils for the first time since the 2015 NCAA Tournament, when Duke won 68-49.
Texas Southern: Plays at Evansville on Monday night in a non-bracketed game of the Maui Invitational.
San Diego State: Faces Duke on Monday in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. The Aztecs are 0-2 against the Blue Devils.
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