San Diego State basketball beats BYU in 2 OT in Maui – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Steve Fisher has been to the Maui Invitational with basketball teams five times now, but maybe his most memorable experience on the island came during a family vacation. He and son Mark, neither of them personifying the family name, decided to – what the heck – hop on a boat for a fishing trip.
Twenty minutes out, they hooked a 441-pound marlin.
They reeled in another big one Monday night in Lahaina, this time on land. Hours after moving up a spot to 15th in Associated Press poll, the Aztecs beat rival BYU 92-87 in double overtime in the opening round of the famed Maui tournament – a wild, riveting game befitting of their first meeting since the Cougars left the Mountain West in 2011.
“We love competing against each other,” BYU star senior Tyler Haws said. “This one just really hurts.”
The 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center sits on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean, with views of two islands, palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze, puffy white clouds floating past, auburn sunsets over the water. The view inside was even prettier for the Aztecs (4-0).
They found their shooting stroke, taking an 11-0 lead and finishing at 48.5 percent after 32- and 24-percent efforts in the prior two games. Winston Shepard found his mojo, scoring the first seven points of the game and finishing with 18 to go with eight rebounds and three assists. Aqeel Quinn made one clutch 3-pointer after another for a career-high 22 points in 38 minutes off the bench. The streak of winning when leading with five minutes left in regulation lived to see another day (it’s at 124 games now). They prevailed in their ninth straight overtime game.
And they got another resume win compliments of the state of Utah.
Now they get Pittsburgh, an 81-68 winner against Chaminade, in Tuesday’s semifinals on ESPN at 7 p.m. PST – or less than 20 hours after four players logged 37 or more minutes (and JJ O’Brien logged 48).
“We’re saying this game should not be in overtime, and it shouldn’t have,” SDSU head coach Steve Fisher said. “They’re saying it shouldn’t have gone to two overtimes, and they’re right there, too. But basketball is a nutty game.”
SDSU led 67-64 late in regulation after Dwayne Polee II decided in mid-air not to take a corner 3-pointer and instead sent a high pass to Skylar Spencer, who scored from close range. Then Polee stole it at the other end and was fouled on the breakaway.
And missed both free throws.
Sixteen seconds later, Haws (26 points) had tied it with yet another 3. The teams traded misses, and Fisher called timeout with 15.9 seconds left. The Aztecs got the ball to O’Brien (13 points, nine rebounds, six assists), who drove and had his bank shot just … bounce … off … the … rim – only for Shepard to have his attempt at a dramatic tip-in roll off as well at the buzzer.
Overtime.
BYU (3-1) took the lead for the first time all night and pushed the margin to 76-71 inside 1:30 to go after Spencer missed two more free throws (he was 2 of 6 but, in all fairness, had nine rebounds and five monster blocks). The Cougars, though, wouldn’t score again in the OT and the Aztecs tied it on the most improbable play in a game full of them.
Rewind a night: At the pre-tournament banquet, with all eight teams and hundreds of fans in attendance, a player from each school was selected to compete in a hula contest. Quinn and BYU’s 6-foot-10 Corbin Kaufusi made it to the final three, and Kaufusi was declared the controversial winner in a dance-off to contemporary pop music.
Fast forward to 30 seconds left in the first overtime: Quinn launched a 3 from the left corner that Kaufusi blocked. Quinn tipped the loose ball to Spencer, who fed it back to Quinn.
“I looked down to see if I was behind (the line),” Quinn said, “and I just let it fly.”
Double overtime.
“We got the block and didn’t secure the ball,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “Got it taken from us, and the guy steps back and hits the 3 and ties the game. Those are things we can learn from. It’s a lot more enjoyable to learn from these kind of things when you actually win the game.”
The other lesson came early, when Rose was deciding whether to open the game in man-to-man or zone defense. The pros and cons:
Man would speed up the game’s tempo for a team averaging 95.7 points but might surrender easy hoops against the quicker and more athletic Aztecs. Zone tends to slow the game as the offensive players patiently work for a shot but might be better for an Aztecs team coming off a 3 of 24 performance behind the arc.
Rose chose man.
Bad choice.
The Aztecs scored on their opening five possessions and took an 11-0 lead. Shepard had scored six points in 26 minutes against Bakersfield … and had seven after two minutes – a pair of layups and a 3-pointer (with him backpedaling to midcourt as it went in). Rose called timeout and switched to 2-3 zone, and his team crawled back into the game.
In the end it was a war of attrition and Rose’s big three – Haws (48 minutes), Kyle Collingsworth (45) and Wake Forest transfer Chase Fischer (42) – seemed to tire, and shots that once splashed into the net started clanging off the front rim. In the second overtime, they shot a combined 1 of 7.
The Aztecs removed the drama midway through the second OT, pulling ahead on a five-point burst from Quinn (another 3 and a twisting, driving layup in traffic) and then making enough free throws to ice it. Freshman Trey Kell was 8 of 10 from the line and finished with 14 points, five more than his total in the first three games of his college career.
The win streak when leading with five minutes to go … safe again.
“At the end of the first overtime, probably a lot of people thought: ‘Well, that streak’s over,’” said Fisher, whose teams are 18-1 in their last 19 overtime games. “We didn’t panic, even though we made some crazy plays at times, and found a way to win. That’s the name of the game.”
Notes
The win was No. 316 for Fisher at SDSU, tying him with George Ziegenfuss for most in school history … The Aztecs have won eight straight against teams from the state of Utah … SDSU’s last double OT game? In the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, against Temple … Spencer and Polee were both 2 of 6 at the line. Rest of team: 15 of 19 (78.9 percent) … SDSU won the battle of the boards 48-38 despite surrendering 13 offensive boards after halftime, including four on one second-half BYU possession …
Quinn’s six 3s are the most by an SDSU player in two seasons, since Chase Tapley made six (twice) in 2012-13 … Quinn (38), Shepard (40) and O’Brien (48) all played career-high minutes … BYU point guard Kyle Collingsworth is coming off ACL surgery and played 13 and 17 minutes in the Cougars’ first two games, then not at all in the third. He went 45 minutes Monday, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals … Haws had 20 of his 26 points after halftime and was 5 of 9 on 3s but made just 4 of 15 inside the arc and had a game-high four turnovers.
Site/time: Lahaina Civic Center, Maui/7 p.m. PST Tuesday
On the air: ESPN/1090-AM
Records: SDSU is 4-0, Pitt is 3-1
Series history: This is their first meeting.
Panthers update: This is Pitt’s first trip to the Maui tournament and organizers were kind, giving a youth Panthers team Division II Chaminade in the first round (a 81-68 victory). But the islands haven’t been as kind. The Panthers arrived a few days early to played Hawaii in a tiny gym in Maui on Friday and lost 74-70 after allowing the hosts to shoot 52.9 percent. There are only two seniors on the active roster, and neither starts. Instead three sophomores do, including 6-9 F Michael Young (27 points and 15 rebounds against Chaminade). Coach Jamie Dixon was an assistant at Hawaii, twice (from 1992-94 and 1998-99), and he met his wife here. The Panthers, now in the ACC, were picked to finish sixth in what many consider the nation’s top conference – behind Duke, UNC, Louisville, Virginia and Syracuse.
–MARK ZEIGLER
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