Sweet 16: SDSU falls to UConn, 82-52

The defending national champion Huskies pulled off the win against the fifth-seeded Aztecs men’s basketball team during Sweet 16 game play.

Thursday, March 28, 2024
SDSU Jaedon LeDee prepares to take a shot during a game against UConn.
SDSU's Jaedon LeDee scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half for fifth-seeded Aztecs.

San Diego State University’s run to a second consecutive appearance in the Elite 8 fell short. 

In a rematch of last year’s national championship, the top-seeded Huskies powered through SDSU’s defense. The heavily-favored first-seeded University of Connecticut Huskies stopped the Aztecs in Thursday’s Sweet 16 round, 82-52.

“First of all, congratulations to UConn and Coach Hurley,” said Brian Dutcher, SDSU head coach. “We wish them the best of luck moving forward. They're an outstanding team and will be very dangerous down the road.”

The 13-seeded Aztecs kept pace with the nation’s top ranked team through the first half. Jaedon LeDee was a force early, providing much of SDSU’s offense. But he had to come off the court after falling into foul trouble in the closing minutes with UConn, struggling to score.

Up 40-31 to start the second half, the Huskies held the Aztecs to eight points over the first nine minutes of the second period and stretched their lead over SDSU, 57-39.

UConn defenders didn’t allow LeDee, SDSU’s top scorer with 18 points, to reassert himself on offense, limiting him to only three points in the closing half.

“The team is really good,” said LeDee. “They played a really good game tonight. I don't think we played our best ball, like Coach [Dutcher] said. Kudos to them. They played really well tonight.”

The Huskies, led by standout guards Stephon Castle (16), Tristen Newton (17), and Cam Spencer (18), who combined for 51 total points, closed out their win on a 23-10 run.

Playing in front of a large crowd of supporters at Boston’s TD Garden — about 90 miles from UConn’s campus — the defending champions claimed their ticket to the Elite 8 coasting the rest of the way to an 82-52 win.

For SDSU, the Mountain West conference’s lone representative to survive last weekend’s opening rounds, it was the fourth consecutive season that the Aztecs had reached the NCAA tournament, and the second consecutive year that the team – with Dutcher at the helm – reached the Sweet 16.

“We've been on an incredible journey together,” said Dutcher. “I take great joy here tonight with these three guys sitting next to me, the fact that they're 7-2 on college basketball's biggest stage over the last two years. It's something to take great pride in. I said if losing a basketball game is the worst thing that's going to happen in your life, you're going to have a fantastic life.”

It was the fourth time in history that the men’s basketball team reached the Sweet 16. 

“It’s been said that athletics are the front porch of a university. Any disappointment over tonight’s result is overshadowed by my pride in the way our Aztecs – in men’s basketball and the rest of our 18 NCAA programs – represent SDSU on the national stage and bring our community together,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “I’m already excited for next season.” 

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