Duke makes quick work of cold-shooting San Diego State

To stay competitive with top-seeded Duke on Sunday, San Diego State needed to hit an abnormal number of jump shots, contain Jahlil Okafor on the low block and keep the Blue Devils out of transition.

Unfortunately for the Aztecs, they really didn't accomplish any of those things, which explains why they endured a 68-49 pounding at the hands of a superior team.

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A cold-shooting San Diego State team that has struggled offensively all season without graduated star point guard Xavier Thames endured an especially frigid performance. Winston Shepard was the only player in double figures as the Aztecs shot 31.6 percent as a team and 2 of 17 from behind the arc.

Wayward jump shots and 11 turnovers proved to be a terrible combination for San Diego State because they fueled Duke's fast break attack. Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook were especially effective attacking in transition and scoring before San Diego State could set its vaunted defense, which was one of the nation's best all season.

The other reason Duke shot 54.5 percent from the floor was because Okafor got pretty much anything he wanted in the paint against San Diego State's array of quicker but willowy big men. Nineteen of Okafor's 26 points came before halftime when the Aztecs were sometimes slow to double team.

Duke's dominant victory sends the Blue Devils to the Sweet 16 where they will face fifth-seeded Utah in Houston. Joining the Utes and Blue Devils in Houston is 11th-seeded UCLA and either second-seeded Gonzaga or seventh-seeded Iowa.

For San Diego State, Sunday's one-sided loss ends a season with some impressive accomplishments and frustrating moments. The Aztecs won 27 games, captured a share of the Mountain West crown and defeated St. John's in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, but they were never able to fully capitalize on their formidable defense because they simply could not score.

The biggest issue was the lack of a true point guard on the roster, forcing converted shooting guards Trey Kell and Aqeel Quinn to handle the role. A lack of consistent outside shooting also hurt, as did Dwayne Polee and Malik Pope both missing large chunks of the season.

Steve Fisher's Xs-and-Os wizardry briefly made Sunday's game competitive when he went to a small lineup that forced Okafor to defend to the perimeter. Pope buried two threes over Okafor that helped the Aztecs get within seven midway through the second half, but Mike Kryzewski countered by having his center guard non-shooter J.J. O'Brien and that was really San Diego State's only offensive flurry.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!