SDSU drops top-seeded Utah State in MW semifinals, 86-70

No. 5 Aztecs will face No. 6 New Mexico in the conference tournament’s championship game on Saturday.

Friday, March 15, 2024
SDSU basketball player Jaedon LeDee celebrates on the court during Aztecs' match against Utah State.
Jaedon LeDee (13) scored 22 points as SDSU came back from down 17 to beat No. 18 Utah State 86-70 on Friday night. (SDSU)

San Diego State University resembled the 2023 NCAA Tournament finalist that stunned the country with timely stops and shots. SDSU dropped top-seeded Utah State 86-70 Friday night to advance to their 7th consecutive Mountain West Tournament championship game.

The Aztecs struggled early and trailed the Aggies by 17 points with 7:25 left in the first half. SDSU rallied back, led by a Lamont Butler 3-pointer to kick off a 14-point run, and closed the first period with a Darrion Trammell 3-pointer in the final seconds to pull within three, 36-39.

“A three-point game at halftime, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves,” said SDSU Head Coach Brian Dutcher. “To get down and fight our way back, we felt like we had to change the momentum of the game, so we wanted to start the second half and build on that momentum, and I think we did.”

SDSU's first-team All-Mountain West star Jaedon LeDee took over in the second half. LeDee dropped 15 of his 22 total points in the first 10 minutes of the second period to help give the Aztecs a 13-point lead. 

Utah State, the Mountain West's top offense, went cold after Aggies' Ian Martinez traded three-pointers with LeDee and Butler in the early minutes of the second half, which helped keep Utah State within three points. SDSU scored 24 points from deep to Utah State's 15 for the game.

SDSU's bench stepped up in relief after LeDee ran into foul trouble early in the game. The Aztecs bench scored a combined 17 points for the game while the Aggies bench recorded 10 total points.

LeDee, SDSU's top scorer, played only eight minutes in the first half and scored five points. He fouled out with 2:03 left in the game and SDSU up 78-68.

Guard Reese Waters led non-starters with 11 total points but Dutcher credited his overall play during his 26-minutes on the court. 

“I thought Reese not only was making shots but I thought he got offensive rebounds. He was running balls down. He did other things to affect the game other than just shoot it in,” said Dutcher.

No. 5 SDSU will face No. 6 New Mexico in the tournament’s championship game on Saturday (3 p.m., CBS).

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