Toreros Blow Out Flordia A&M in Home Opener


The San Diego Toreros improved to 2-1 on the year with a convincing 72-41 over Florida A&M in their home opener at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Wednesday. Thomas Jacobs led the way falling just short of a double-double with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Johnny Dee and Chris Anderson also reached double figures with 14 and 10 points respectively, and Anderson added 6 assists.

The Toreros got production from the entire roster as all but one of their 12 active players scored in the game. Brett Bailey had a strong game with 5 points and 8 rebounds. Simi Fajemisin was strong off the bench with 6 points and five rebounds. And all three of the active freshmen had points.

Florida A&M falls to 0-3 with the loss. They were led by Jermaine Ruttley, Jorge Rosa, and Quentin Bastian who were the only Rattlers to reach double figures. Only two other players scored for the Rattlers, and they shot an abysmal 32.7% on the night compared to 54% by the Toreros. San Diego dominated most statistical categories including a 40-22 advantage in rebounding and an 8-0 advantage in steals.



Early on the glaring issue for the Toreros has been the lack of support behind stars Johnny Dee and Chris Anderson. The only player that seems to doing any kind of decent job supporting them so far has been Jacobs. While Dee and Anderson have scored in the double figures each of the three games this year, Jacobs has contributed double digits in two.

He is the only other Torero putting up consistent numbers, and he has firmly anchored himself in the one starting position that was left open with the graduation of Dennis Kramer. With a lot of young players still developing and established players like Jito Kok and Duda Sanadze off to slow starts, having Jacobs starting strong has been a key component of the 2-1 start.


Duda Sanadze was a revelation for the Toreros last year in his first season of action for the Toreros. The Georgian star became an excellent scorer alongside Dee and Anderson, and his emergence took the Toreros to another level. This year he is expected to again by a key player, but he has gotten off to an awful start. He averaged just 1.5 points per game through the first two contests, and he did not appear in the Florida A&M victory on Wednesday.

Not playing raises some questions, and it might explain his slow start. Perhaps he is being nagged by injury, because it’s unlikely two bad games would have regulated him to the bench so quickly. He started the first two games and is still one of the most talented players on the roster, so he is likely struggling with something right now. Getting him going will be critical as they cannot afford to be without his aggressiveness and production in bigger games.


It’s been very obvious that the freshman on the team are going to play big roles all season. The trio of Marus Harris, Vasa Pusica, and Khalil Bedart-Ghani have all been getting regular minutes in all three contests. In fact Harris and Pusica are already averaging well over 10 minutes per game and look to already be a part of the regular rotation. Although the early struggles of Sanadze have probably factored into this.

But even when Sanadze is back to his 2013-14 self, the freshmen will still play a big role. So to see them gradually getting better is a good sign. Pusica looks like a very valuable and versatile player and is already averaging 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist per game. Harris has had the most successful game by a San Diego freshman so far with 8 points in the win over Southeast Missouri State.

Most of the established role players like Kok, Fajemisin, and Bailey all seem to have relatively limited upsides. So to see the freshmen flashing a lot of potential and getting experience early is a good sign for a team that will need that depth come conference play.


Things are about to get a lot tougher for the Toreros, so it was good they didn’t struggle over their first three games and at least came away with the two easy wins they should have. Their upcoming seven game stretch is brutal and will be a major test for them. It starts on Monday with a home game against Western Michigan, a team coming off a spectacular season highlighted by the MAC Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

The Toreros then return to Los Angeles for the Wooden Legacy for a game against Xavier followed by two games against a very tough field of potential opponents. They will face either Harvard or UTEP in the second round, and their final game will be against either Washington, Long Beach State, San Jose State, or a rematch with Western Michigan.

They then go into a brutal road stretch with games at San Diego State, UCLA, and mid-major power UC Santa Barbara. It’s a dangerous stretch, and if the wheels fall off they Toreros could lose almost every game during this period. Hopefully they are warmed up and ready to go.