San Diego St. 79, San Diego 76
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Brandon Heath hit a clutch jumper with 25.7 seconds left and finished with 21 points for the San Diego State Aztecs, who beat crosstown rival San Diego 79-76 Wednesday night for their eighth straight victory, matching the best start in school history.
It’s also the best start ever for coach Steve Fisher. Until this season, his previous best start was going 7-0 in his last season at Michigan, 1996-97. That team won the NIT. Fisher was fired shortly before the start of the 1997-98 season. He was hired at SDSU in March 1999.
San Diego State’s 1984-85 team also opened 8-0. That team reached the NCAA tournament, losing in the first round.
Heath scored 16 points in the second half, including the final eight for the Aztecs.
With the Aztecs leading 71-68, Heath missed a shot with just more than a minute left and USD’s Chris Lewis rebounded. SDSU’s Lorrenzo Wade stole Lewis’ pass and the Aztecs worked the clock before Heath hit a jumper just inside the free-throw line with 25.7 seconds left for a 73-68 lead.
Heath made six free throws in the final 15.1 seconds to keep the Aztecs ahead. Lewis hit a 3-pointer for USD with 17.7 seconds left and Ross DeRogatis made his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 1.3 seconds left to pull USD to 77-76. Heath made his final two free throws with a second left, and Lewis’ desperation shot from beyond half court hit the front of the rim.
Mohamed Abukar scored 22 for SDSU, Wade had 14 and Kyle Spain 12.
DeRogatis scored 23 for USD (2-4). Gyno Pomare had 17 and Lewis 16. Theo White had 12 rebounds.
SDSU led 67-57 after Wade’s jumper with 6:50 left. Lewis hit a 3-pointer and Gyno Pomare scored six points to help USD pull to 71-68 with 2:42 to play.
SDSU led 41-40 at halftime.