Men's Hoops: SDSU Opens Season With 83-57 Win Over Fullerton on Banner Night

Aztecs hang NCAA Finalist banner ahead of season opener in front of sold-out Viejas Arena.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023
SDSU Win Over Fullerton
San Diego State mens basketball opened up the 2023-24 regular season with an 83-57 win over Cal State Fullerton Monday night at Viejas Arena. (Derrick Tuskan/San Diego State)

The San Diego State University men’s basketball team opened their 2023-24 campaign in dramatic fashion that saw the unveiling of the NCAA National Finalist banner, twin Mountain West conference banners, and a nail-biting opening half on Monday night.

Playing in front of a boisterous sold-out crowd at Viejas Arena, the heavily favored No. 17 Aztecs sprinted to a 14-0 lead against Cal State Fullerton. Jaedon LeDee scored six of his career-high 27 points in the first four minutes of the match before the Titans found a way to turn the momentum. Unfazed by the pomp and ceremony, Fullerton was eyeing a spoiler on banner night and converted on their defensive rebounds to close out the first half, 35-37.

"I was ready to stop talking about last year because I know this year we have to step it up," said Micah Parrish, a member of last year’s national championship squad. "We can't keep going off last year. It's a new year, a new us, a new team, new energy. I was ready."

Parrish and the Aztecs made some halftime adjustments. The team pulled away from the Titans after five minutes in the second half going up 54-42 on a steal by Parrish that led to a fastbreak layup by Final Four star Lamont Butler.

“We got off to a good start, and they withstood it which they did on the glass,” said Aztecs’ coach Brian Dutcher about the team’s first half. "We were down nine or 10 rebounds at halftime and then ended up tied in rebounds for the game. And that's a big difference. All of a sudden, we stopped giving them offensive rebounds."

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The Aztecs put the game out of reach with eight minutes left and never let Fullerton get within 19 points. Parrish had five 3-pointers and scored 17 for SDSU, while USC transfer Reese Waters added 15. Butler led the team with seven assists during his 28 minutes on the floor.

When the final buzzer sounded to secure SDSU's opening night 83-57 win, players, coaches and fans turned their attention to the rafters to marvel at the team’s only Final Four banner.

"It's great. I'm going to look at it every day and then go to work," Dutcher said. "Step onto Steve Fisher Court and look at a Final Four banner. A lot of good stuff happened here. And the crowd tonight, come on. The energy in the building was incredible. We feed off that. It's a fun place to play and a fun place to come watch a game. It was exciting."

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