SAN DIEGO — After nearly seven weeks of running circles around one another, San Diego State's basketball players sought a diversion.
So now, the Aztecs are letting others run circles around them.
Arizona handed SDSU its second consecutive decisive defeat of the season Thursday night, 110-78, in front of 2,430 fans in the San Diego Sports Arena in the Aztecs' home opener.
One unexpected participant was SDSU sophomore center Kevin Brown, who said 2 1/2 weeks ago that he was transferring to Akron to be closer to his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. Brown, 6-feet 9-inches, asked to be reinstated Wednesday night and was accepted back by a unanimous vote of his teammates.
After Thursday's game, Brown said his grandmother was hospitalized by a severe case of the flu 2 1/2 weeks ago, causing him to decide to transfer. Brown said his grandmother, who is out of the hospital now, told him to remain enrolled at SDSU before making a final decision.
Brown said he stayed in shape by playing in daily pickup games in local gymnasiums.
"I talked to several people in Michigan who had been in my corner for a long time who convinced me to stay here," Brown said. "Tuesday night, I also talked to Steffond Johnson (SDSU's center last year who was recently cut by the Los Angeles Clippers). He said a lot of things that made sense, like how good the weather is here. Plus, we didn't do too well as a team last year. I decided to stay and see what we could do."
Brown is the only returning part-time starter from last year's 10-19 team. SDSU also starts two community college transfers and two other sophomores.
Brown was impressive in 19 minutes off the bench against Arizona, recording 12 points and 2 rebounds. Last year, he averaged 2.9 points and 4.6 rebounds.
"I never had any problems with Kevin," Coach Smokey Gaines said. "Kevin came to me and said he wanted to transfer. He'll be all right now. He gives us an added dimension as a big man."
The Aztecs are also hoping that Gerald Murray (6-8) will help them with rebounding. Murray had 8 points and a team-high 9 rebounds in his first start of the season.
During practice, Murray was hindered by being overweight and a sprained ankle. He said his hamstring tightened and he suffered a sprained little finger against Arizona.
"It has been a long comeback," Murray said. "Actually, I didn't get too tired tonight. I took myself out in the first half because I got a little tired. Overall, I felt real good."
Gaines said he will push Murray.
"Now's the time to get Gerald in shape," Gaines said. "I thought he did a respectable job, but he got tired after four or five minutes."
The Aztecs actually led Arizona by seven points three times in the first six minutes.
However, Arizona scored 16 unanswered points when SDSU was held scoreless for a period of 5:01 in the first half. When Tracy Dildy finally hit two free throws with 7:03 remaining, SDSU trailed, 37-26. The Aztecs never got closer than 11 points thereafter.
Josh Lowery scored a team-high 19 points for SDSU, including 3 of 6 successful attempts from three-point range. Brown was the only other Aztec in double figures.
Arizona (1-1), the defending Pacific 10 champion, dominated the game inside. The Wildcats outrebounded SDSU, 39-28, and put the game away in the first half by hitting 11 field goals inside the lane. The Wildcats shot 64.1% from two-point range and 66.7% from three-point range.
Sean Elliott led all scorers with 21 points.
"They're a good team, and we gave them a lot of easy shots," Gaines said. "We have a lot of inexperienced kids, but we still shouldn't give them those kind of shots."