SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego State Aztecs (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) raised a banner, broke a sweat, beat an NAIA school in their home opener and immediately started focusing on Wednesday night's game against Saint Mary's.
Kawhi Leonard and Chase Tapley scored 14 points apiece and the Aztecs breezed to an 88-69 victory against San Diego Christian on Friday night.The Hawks, an NAIA team from suburban El Cajon, stayed close for the first 13 minutes before it became apparent how overmatched they were."Fisher really took it easy on us," Hawks coach Conrad Sun said. "I've seen San Diego State play against other teams. They could have very easily put us to bed in the first two or three minutes. I think they let us play through it. This could have been a 100-point game. Coach Fisher is a first-class guy."The Aztecs are 6-0 for the first time since 2006-07, when they won their first eight games.San Diego State, in the Top 25 for the first time, opened with five straight games away from home, including a 79-76 victory at then-No. 11 Gonzaga.All 11 Aztecs scored against San Diego Christian. Billy White had 10 points."It was nice that we could play the bench, finally, for extended minutes, and D.J. [Gay] didn't have to play 30-plus minutes and Kawhi didn't have to play 30-plus minutes," Fisher said. "So, it was good to reward some of the guys that have worked so hard and that are good enough to be out there to help us win."I thought that San Diego Christian played extremely hard, made some shots when they were guarded, made some shots when they weren't guarded," Fisher said. "We're pleased to be 6-0. We have now turned the page to start thinking about that next one."Fisher split up the playing time so well that 10 Aztecs had at least 12 minutes."We won't beat Saint Mary's if we play the way we did today," Gay said. "The energy will be there Wednesday. There will be no underestimating or overlooking our opponents or anything of that nature. They're a very good team and that's something we're all looking forward to."Aaron Felix led the Hawks with 21 points while Tyler Mutton had 19. The Hawks considered this an exhibition game and remained 3-4.The Hawks stayed close for the first 13 minutes before SDSU went on a 15-4 run to take a 38-27 lead. Leonard made a 3-point shot and had a tip during the stretch. Leonard made another 3-pointer with six seconds left to give the Aztecs a 44-34 halftime lead.The Aztecs also had a few sloppy moments early on. Leonard missed an easy layup and a windmill slam dunk attempt that bounced off the iron, leading to a jumper by Mutton to cut SDSU's lead to 15-11Before the game, the Aztecs unveiled their 2010 Mountain West Conference tournament championship banner. That victory earned the Aztecs a berth in the NCAA tournament, where they lost 62-59 to Tennessee. San Diego State is 0-6 in NCAA tournament appearances.