J.J. O’Brien led the way with 18 points for eighth-seed San Diego State in a 76-64 victory over St. John’s in Friday night’s NCAA tournament second round game at Time Warner Cable Arena as all four higher seeds in Charlotte teams advanced to the third round.
O’Brien finished the game hitting 8-of-12 shots and had four rebounds and two assists. Dwayne Polee II added 15 and Matt Shrigley scored 12, connecting on 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
Sir’Dominic Pointer led No. 9 seed St. John’s with a game-high 21 points.
Aztecs coach Steve Fisher, coaching in his 15th NCAA tournament, improves to 26-13 all-time in tournament games and 6-7 at SDSU.
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St. John’s spent the entire second half fighting from behind. With the absence of any 3-point shooting and a sizable rebounding deficit (23-15) Aztecs advantage in the second half), the Red Storm never could get the margin under seven.
Stat that mattered
For much of the game, both teams were almost identical in every statistic but one – 3-point shooting. The Aztecs connected on 9-of-22 long-range shots while St. John’s finished the game 3-for-15, and continued to come up short while fighting back from a second half deficit.
San Diego State has now gone 81 consecutive games without suffering consecutive losses – the longest active streak in the nation. ... Only VCU, Georgetown and Davidson traveled further than SDSU to play their opening round tournament game this season. .... Red Storm coach Steve Lavin is now 10-3 all-time in the first two rounds of NCAA tournament play.
San Diego State will face Duke on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament. St. John’s ends its season at 21-12 and will have to replace four starting seniors.