SAN DIEGO (AP) — Darrion Trammell hit three 3-pointers during a 29-10 run to open the second half and finished with 18 points for No. 19 San Diego State, which beat Cal State Fullerton 80-57 Monday night to begin one of the most eagerly anticipated seasons in school history.
Fellow newcomer Jaedon LeDee and Lamont Butler scored 11 points apiece and Nathan Mensah had 10 for the Aztecs, who won their 10th straight opener and their 17th in 18 seasons.
Vincent Lee scored 11 and Jalen Harris 10 for the Titans, the defending Big West Conference champions.
Much of the hype surrounding the Aztecs is because of Trammell, a senior guard who scored 1,010 points in two seasons at Seattle before transferring to SDSU. He and LeDee, a transfer from TCU, join four returning starters to give the Aztecs a deep, experienced team.
SDSU was the preseason pick to win the Mountain West Conference and Trammell was selected preseason newcomer of the year.
“I just play basketball,” Trammell said. “All the accolades are nice but I came here to win. I have bigger things on my mind, tournament dreams. I’m all about the team.”
Said Butler: "It was fun playing with him because he can get hot at any time of the game.”
SDSU went 23-9 last season, losing to Boise State in the Mountain West championship game and then losing in overtime to Creighton in the NCAA Tournament after leading by nine with 2½ minutes left in regulation.
Trammell made a 3-pointer to open the game. The Titans stayed close throughout the first half and the Aztecs made only two shots in the last five minutes to lead 32-25 at halftime.
But SDSU came to life in the opening minutes of the second half. Trammell hit a 3 and Keshad Johnson and Matt Bradley had slam dunks for a 44-29 lead that prompted the Titans to call a timeout. SDSU continued to pour it on with two more 3-pointers from Trammell and 3s from Butler and Micah Parrish. The Aztecs pushed the lead to 61-35 with 11:25 to go.
“We can wear teams down," Trammell said. "We’ve got a very deep team. Everyone has their own thing that they do. That’s definitely going to carry us deep all year.”
San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said the Aztecs had too many turnovers in the first half so he called more set plays in the second half to get them into a pattern.
“I don’t want to do that. I want to run, I want to play free and I want them to make better decisions on the break," Dutcher said. "I think that will come as the season goes on.
“Our depth kind of won out in the end,” he added. "That might be a formula for the whole season. We're deep, we're talented and we’re going to play a lot of people. Hopefully that depth and talent will wear people down on the defensive end.”
Cal State Fullerton: The Titans couldn't keep up with the bigger Aztecs during the fast-paced first 9 1/2 minutes of the second half. The Titans return three starters from the team that won the Big West last season to reach the NCAA Tournament before losing to Duke in the first round.
San Diego State: It appeared SDSU's depth would be tested right away when Johnson, a senior forward, took a hard fall less than a minute into the game and then was inadvertently hit in the face by another player's leg and left the game. He returned several minutes later.
Cal State Fullerton hosts Pepperdine on Friday night.
San Diego State hosts former conference rival BYU on Friday night.
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