24-hour college basketball marathon

No. 16 San Diego State downs No. 25 Utah, 53-49, in offensive struggle

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A layup from J.J. O’Brien with more than eight minutes remaining gave San Diego State a nine-point lead. A minute later, O’Brien assisted on Dwayne Poole II’s lone 3-point basket to once again extend the lead to nine at 37-26. In both instances, it seemed appropriate to label the game as a blowout based on how poorly Utah was performing offensively.

It wasn’t until the final minute of regulation for Utah’s star player, Delon Wright, to get his first points while a pair of desperation 3-pointers from Brandon Taylor and Jordan Loveridge made it a one-possession game, 49-46, with under 20 seconds to play.

Although, the late burst of offense was not enough to undo the offensive woes that plagued the Utes — more so than the Aztecs’ offensive troubles — in what turned out to be a 53-49 win for No. 16 San Diego State (2-0) over newly-ranked No. 25 Utah on Tuesday evening at Viejas Arena in San Diego.

Utah (1-1) shot a dismal 16-of-49 from the field (32 percent), and that percentage increased with the Utes hitting four of their last six shots. More troubling, Delon Wright, the all-Pac-12 first teamer and preseason All American candidate was 2-for-13 (0-for-5 from three) from the field, scored his first bucket with 40 seconds left, followed later by three free throws (his only of the day) after a rare defensive mishap on the part of San Diego State resulted in Skylar Spencer fouling Wright on a 3-point shot.

To Wright’s credit did grab eight rebounds, assisted on five of Utah’s 16 field goals and came away with three steals. San Diego State’s defense forced him into tough shots, and swarmed him anytime he had the ball in his hands. The defense for the Aztecs was suffocating, and it had to be because San Diego State’s offense wasn’t much better. We went over how bad Utah was on offense, and the Utes still had a puncher’s chance at the end.

San Diego State team shooting was almost identical to Utah’s at 16-of-49 shooting.

Xavier Thames and his 17.6 points per game are gone from last season’s Sweet 16 team. He left the Aztecs without a go-to scorer and without a guy Steve Fisher can give the ball to with the game in the balance. It’s going to take time for the Aztecs to find their rhythm offensively, and that was apparent on Tuesday. Poole and Winston Shepard III shot a combined 4-of-12 for 14 points. O’Brien (12 points and 11 rebounds) was the only player to reach double figures, although, two of his three field goals came from him operating on the weak-side of the floor with two offensive rebounds leading to four of his 12 points.

The bright side is San Diego State can hang its hat on its defense as it attempts to figure out a formula for offensive success.

San Diego State hosts Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday. Utah returns home to take on UC Riverside on Friday night.

Lunch Break: Recap of all the 24-hour college basketball marathon action so far

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How much of the 24-hour hoops marathon have you been able to watch? If you tried to stay up for the early-morning games and fell asleep on the couch, or had to head to work this morning and missed some of the action, fear not. NBCSports.com is here. Spend your lunch break with us and check out short recaps below, with a link to our full game story.

Stay tuned throughout the day for a whole slate of live coverage from NBC. We’ll have reporters in attendance for UMass-Harvard, St. John’s-Detroit, VCU-Wichita State, Kansas-Michigan State, and Kentucky-Duke.

In Case You Missed It:

Gonzaga 84, West Virginia 50

Gonzaga shot 9-of-16 from three-point range and 52 percent overall in a blowout win. The Bulldogs’ backcourt combination of Gary Bell, Jr., Kevin Pangos, and Guy Landry Edi combined for 42 points. West Virginia shot an abysmal 15-of-55 from the floor. (Full Game Story)

New Mexico 86, Davidson 81

The Lobos stormed back from a 14-point halftime deficit to escape with a win at home in the wee hours of the morning Tuesday. Tony Snell had 25 points and Kendall Williams had 17 points, including 13-of-14 from the free throw line. De’Mon Brooks led Davidson with 22 points. (Full Game Story)

Hawaii 70, Houston Baptist 63

While you were likely sleeping, Hawaii senior Vander Joaquim scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Warriors improved to 3-0 on the year. Art Bernardi scored 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the floor. Hawaii’s 38-27 advantage on the glass helped them to victory. (Full Game Story)

Stony Brook 54, Rider 46

A monster second half from Rider’s Nurideen Lindsey wasn’t enough, as Stony Brook took over in the final four minutes to seal a victory. Freshman Jameel Warney almost had a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. Lindsey finished with 17 points. (Full Game Story)

Valparaiso 69, Northern Illinois 46

Reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, as the Crusaders shot 13-of-24 from three-point range. Matt Kenney supplemented the Valpo attack with 16 points. Northern Illinois was held to just 29 percent shooting. (Full Game Story)

Massachusetts 67, Harvard 64

UMass scored the last eight points of the game to spoil Harvard’s hopes of a win on the road. Costly Harvard turnovers down the stretch gave UMass a chance to win it with under 10 seconds remaining. Chaz Williams drove to the right side of the rim and kicked it out to Sampson Carter in the corner. Carter nailed the three with 1.2 seconds remaining. Harvard heave was short, and the Minutemen escape. (Full Game Story)

Temple 80, Kent State 66

Scootie Randall scored 30 points for the Owls in his return to the lineup after missing the entire 2011-12 season due to injury. The two teams combined to turn the ball over 40 times, but the Owls shot 53 percent from the floor to leave Ohio with the double-digit victory. (Full Game Story)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_