Kell, McDaniels lead SDSU to 72-70 upset of No. 12 Gonzaga
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Senior Trey Kell scored 10 of his 14 points in the final 2:56 and redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half and had 10 rebounds for San Diego State, which overcame poor shooting to upset No. 12 Gonzaga 72-70 on Thursday night.
Freshman Matt Mitchell added 15 points for San Diego State (8-3), which led the whole game while shooting only 36.1 percent.
While McDaniels and Mitchell made big shots down the stretch, Kell— who didn't start due to a thigh injury that's limited him in practice — made eight of 10 free throws in the final 2:56 and added a nice reverse layup with 46.4 seconds to go to give SDSU a 66-60 lead.
The biggest shot for McDaniels was when he swooped in for a slam dunk off Kell's missed 3-pointer for a 54-47 lead with 4:48 left that brought the crowd to its feet. That came one possession after Mitchell hit a 3-pointer.
Gonzaga (10-3) twice closed to two points, on a 3-pointer by Silas Melson and then on two free throws by Rui Hachimura with 1:36 left.
Kell then made the final two of his free throws and his reverse layup to give the Aztecs some breathing room.
Gonzaga's Jesse Wade hit a 3-pointer with one-tenth of a second left.
Zach Norvell Jr. led Gonzaga with 22 points while Hachimura had 13 and Johnathan Williams added 12 points and 15 rebounds.
With SDSU leading 35-34 in the second half, McDaniels hit a jumper and Jeremy Hemsley had a steal and a 3-pointer to make it 40-34.
McDaniels hit a turnaround jumper with 8:41 left and Mitchell converted a three-point play on the next possession to keep SDSU seven points ahead.
SDSU jumped to an 11-0 lead, getting two 3-pointers by Matt Mitchell and one by Devin Watson, and took a 14-4 lead after a 3-pointer by Malik Pope.
The Aztecs were up 22-10 with 8:21 before halftime after Devin Watson made a sweet behind-the-back bounce pass to free McDaniels for a layup and Kell hit a floater in the lane.
Gonzaga then outscored the Aztecs 13-3 the rest of the half. Rui Hachimura converted a 3-point play and Killian Tillie made consecutive 3-pointers.
Hachimura made a layup with a minute left and the Zags trailed 25-23 at halftime.
Gonzaga: The Zags were coming off two home victories of different varieties: an 89-83 overtime victory against North Dakota and a 101-71 victory against IUPUI.
San Diego State: The Aztecs were playing for the first time since a 63-62 loss to California on Dec. 9. Kell didn't start due to a bruised quad suffered in that loss, but subbed in midway through the first half.
Gonzaga hosts Pacific in a West Coast Conference opener on Thursday.
San Diego State opens Mountain West Conference play at Wyoming on Wednesday.