Dec. 9, 2009
San Diego, Calif. - Freshman Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds Wednesday night to lead San Diego State to an 82-68 non-conference victory over Cal State Fullerton.
The Aztecs (7-2) extended three winning streaks -- four overall this year, nine in a row at home dating to last season and 12 in a row at home over non-conference opponents -- while Fullerton lost its third in a row to fall to 3-3.
Jer'Vaughn Johnson, who transferred from San Diego State, had a collegiate high of 19 points for Fullerton before fouling out with 4:20 to play. Jacques Streeter had 12 points and Devon Peltier came off the bench for 11 points, all in the second half.
San Diego State had 14 more shots and 19 more free throw attempts, the result of a 41-25 edge in rebounding and six fewer turnovers (19 to 13).
"We got killed on the boards," said Fullerton Head Coach Bob Burton.
"We were very ineffective on offense in the first half. We played together in the second half.
"The bright spots were Jer'Vaughn and Jamel McGuire (San Diego City College transfer), two guys coming back 'home' to San Diego. Usually, guys don't play well in that situation. Jer'Vaughn was terrific."
The Aztecs, who are among the favorites to win the Mountain West Conference championship, led all the way. Leonard scored 8 of the Aztecs' first 12 points as the hosts gradually stretched their lead. SDSU outscored the Titans in the paint in the first half, 24-10, and got 17 points from its bench to none for Fullerton. The Aztecs shot 55 percent overall including 4 of 10 3-pointers.
Gerard Anderson continues to struggle offensively. He had only 2 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes and has totaled only 4 points in the 3-game losing streak. Aaron Thompson scored 7 points in the first half but played only sparingly in the second period.
The final shooting stats were about even -- both teams shot just over 50 percent from the floor and 3-point line. But the Aztecs were a miserable 41 percent -- 13 for 32 -- from the foul line to keep the Titans in contention down the stretch.
Fullerton returns home Saturday against a 5-1 Occidental College team while San Diego State hosts Arizona.