Simpson leads Gaels past Aztecs 67-64
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Diamon Simpson scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Saint Mary’s rallied for a 67-64 victory over San Diego State on Saturday in the opener of the 15th John R. Wooden Classic.
Patrick Mills added 15 points and Omar Samhan had 13 points, four rebounds and four blocked shots for the Gaels (7-1), who beat the Aztecs 69-64 in the opener of the Wooden Classic last year.
Tim Shelton led San Diego State (8-3) with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Spain added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Aztecs.
A basket by Mills with 1:52 remaining put Saint Mary’s ahead 63-62. Simpson, a 6-foot-7 senior, added a rebound basket 40 seconds later to extend the Gaels’ lead to three points, and Samhan’s short jumper with 22.4 seconds to play made it 67-62. Shelton’s basket with 11.3 seconds remaining completed the scoring.
The Aztecs outscored Saint Mary’s 14-7 to start the second half for a 45-44 lead, but Mills made a 3-pointer to trigger a 13-3 run that put the Gaels on top 57-48.
Saint Mary’s led by seven before a basket by Richie Williams, five straight points by Shelton and a follow shot by Spain gave the Aztecs a 62-61 lead. But the Gaels would score the next six points to clinch the victory.
Saint Mary’s led by as many as 12 points before settling for a 37-31 halftime lead.