San Diego State used a surprisingly strong offensive night to beat St. John's and advance to the Round of 32
The last 18 times San Diego State has lost a game, it has gone on to win its next one. So when the Aztecs lost a semi-stunner to Wyoming in the Mountain West tournament final, they were a reasonable bet to beat St. John's in the Round of 64. But no one would have bet on the Aztecs' offensive performance in this game.
Entering the NCAA tournament, San Diego State was shooting 32% on three-pointers, good for 277th in the country. On two-pointers, they'd been shooting 46.3%. Against St. John's, the Aztecs shot 40.9% from three—including two that banked in during the first half—and 51.6% on two-pointers. Their final total of 76 points, to St. John's 64, was a 14.5 points higher than their season average.
The Aztecs opened up a 13-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game, but St. John's crawled back and even took a brief lead around the 10-minute mark. San Diego State finished the first half up 40-33. The Red Storm never came any closer than that seven-point deficit in the second half.
St. John's guard Sir'Dominic Pointer capped his excellent senior season with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow guards D'Angelo Harrison and Rysheed Jordan scored 18 and 10. The Red Storm clearly missed big man Chris Obekpa, who had been suspended due to a violation of team rules.
The Aztecs need to have that surprising offense on hand again, as they will face Duke in the Round of 32 on Sunday. The Blue Devils easily handled 16-seed Robert Morris earlier on Friday, and will bring their No. 2 offense (in terms of adjusted efficiency) to take on San Diego State's second-ranked defense.