SAN DIEGO — San Diego State was already dominating Bradley in the opening minutes when senior forward Malik Pope was whistled for his second foul and headed for the bench.
In came 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels and the domination continued.
McDaniels helped spark an opening 22-3 run and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds in San Diego State’s 75-52 victory against Bradley on Sunday.
Pope and Jeremy Hemsley scored 13 apiece for SDSU (7-2), which won its second straight game.
“He went down so I felt like I had to step up on my part and play with a lot of energy and be active and I feel like I did that,” McDaniels said.
McDaniels came in less than five minutes into the game and had an immediate impact en route to his first career double-double. With the Aztecs leading 11-3, he had a put-back and a tip-in on consecutive possessions. After Nolan Narain made a layup, McDaniels hit a 3-pointer for a 20-3 lead. Hemsley finished an 11-0 burst with two free throws for a 19-point lead just 9:48 into the game.
McDaniels’ 14 points were a season-high and his 12 rebounds were one shy of his season-high.
“I’ve got nothing but high hopes and high expectations for this guy right here,” Pope said about McDaniels. “He showed tonight his capabilities and that’s just the smallest piece of it. He has a lot of potential. As far as I’m concerned he can do just about everything out there so I’m excited for him and for this team.”
Darrell Brown scored 12 for Bradley (7-2), which had its five-game winning streak snapped.
Bradley made just one of its first eight shots and shot only 33.3 percent in the first half and 32.8 percent for the game.
SDSU led 37-23 at halftime.
“We had bad starts both halves,” Bradley coach Brian Wardle said. “Give them credit. They’re good. They’re big and long. They’re physical. They play physical without fouling. That’s what we’re trying to get to and we’ve got to get a lot tougher and a lot better.”
SDSU shot 44.4 percent from the field and outrebounded Bradley 47-26.
“I’m happy with our performance tonight. Fifth game in 11 days, that’s always a challenge,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said. “I thought our kids competed at a high level today. They worked hard on the glass; out rebounded them by 20. We shot a pretty good percentage. Our defense was great. I think they shot 32 percent for the game. We defended well, we rebounded well and that usually leads to a good outcome. I’m pleased with the team where we are right now but we have to get better if we’re going to compete in a very good Mountain West Conference.”
SDSU guard Trey Kell missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Bradley: The Braves were denied in their attempt to start a season 8-1 for the first time since opening with nine straight wins in 1985-86. They also suffered their first loss in five games in the series, although the teams hadn’t met since the 1967-68 season.
San Diego State: The Aztecs have five days to get Kell healthy before their next game. He was hurt in a loss to Washington State in the championship game of the Wooden Legacy on Nov. 26 and missed Thursday night’s win at San Diego. While Kell sat, Max Montana returned after missing six games with a knee injury.
Bradley hosts Little Rock on Wednesday night.
San Diego State hosts California on Saturday afternoon.