SAN DIEGO (AP) — Even though he had walking pneumonia, senior captain Trey Kell wanted to help his San Diego State Aztecs end a rough three-game losing streak. Kell did more than OK, scoring 17 points as the Aztecs beat Colorado State 97-78 Wednesday night.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Even though he had walking pneumonia, senior captain Trey Kell wanted to help his San Diego State Aztecs end a rough three-game losing streak.
Kell did more than OK, scoring 17 points as the Aztecs beat Colorado State 97-78 Wednesday night.
"I obviously wasn't 100 percent," Kell said. "I told coach I would play in short spurts if I could help the team."
Max Montana scored a season-high 20 points to lead seven players in double figures for SDSU (12-7, 4-4 Mountain West). The Aztecs had lost their previous three games despite leading with five minutes to go in all three.
Matt Mitchell had 15, Devin Watson, Jeremy Hemsley and Jalen McDaniels scored 11 apiece and Malik Pope had 10.
"I felt like everything was flowing tonight," Kell said. "There was no hesitation. Everyone was playing the right way. It was a big win for us. We had to get back on the winning track and it started tonight."
The Aztecs had a 12-point lead 12 minutes into the game and were up 47-33 at halftime. This time, they didn't fritter it away. The Aztecs led by as many as 27 points in the second half and hit several 3-pointers, including two each by Kell and Montana, and one each from Mitchell and Watson.
Montana made five of nine from behind the arc.
"It happens in basketball and we can't obsess over it," SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said about the losing streak. "We have to believe in the process and hang in there."
Anthony Bonner scored 22 for Colorado State (10-12, 3-6), which lost its third straight. Nico Carvacho had 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Rams were without leading scorer Prentiss Nixon (17.9 points per game) for a second straight game after he had a high-ankle sprain in the final seconds of a 76-71 loss to Air Force last Wednesday night. He was on the bench in San Diego with a boot on his left ankle.
"We miss him. We miss him extremely," coach Larry Eustachy said. "He's the heart of our team. But we're doing the best we can without him. When we get him back I think we'll get pretty good."
SDSU went on an 8-0 run to take a 28-16 lead with 7:45 before halftime. Kell made a bank shot and a jumper. SDSU went on an 11-0 run late in the first half, getting a 3-pointer and a layup from Hemsley.
With 8:43 to go in the first half, Eustachy walked all the way out to the key after a foul was called on Deion James, and was whistled for a technical foul. Eustachy thought a timeout had been called, and apologized to the officials. SDSU's Devin Watson missed both free throws.
"All of a sudden I was in the middle of the court and I was waiting for guys to go to the bench," Eustachy said.
"I don't think I've seen that before but it's only my first year," said Dutcher, who was promoted to his first head coaching job after Steve Fisher retired in April. "But if I thought it would help my team, I might follow him out there."
Said Kell: "He walked up to us and one of his players said, 'What the hell are you doing?' I guess he thought it was a timeout. I've never seen a coach pull up on a court like that."
Colorado State: The Rams had won three straight games away from Fort Collins. They kept it close through the first 10 minutes before SDSU began pulling away.
San Diego State: Kell was cleared to play and went through the shootaround. He was subbed out 4 ½ minutes into the game but was back a few minutes later. Kell played 26 minutes. He had a strong slam dunk with six minutes to play. ... Earlier in the day, former San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman was elected to the Hall of Fame. "That means we are going to be the second story tonight and I don't mind that," Dutcher said.
Colorado State is at New Mexico on Saturday night.
San Diego State is at UNLV on Saturday night.
Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter @BernieWilson