Aztecs survive and advance in 69-65 win over UAB

Credit: San Diego State Basketball

The short URL of the present article is:
Spread the love
Credit: San Diego State Basketball

Spokane Arena – Spokane, Washington

The San Diego State Aztecs and UAB Blazers met for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs held on in a nail-biter to defeat the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Champions UAB Blazers by just four points.

“First of all, congratulations to UAB on an outstanding season,” head coach Brian Dutcher said postgame. “They were the ultimate opponent. It went back and forth and we were fortunate to win. I told the team after the game that experience means something and I think all the experience we got last year paid off. When they came back and took a lead we didn’t panic, we stayed focused, we played hard, and we found a way to win.”

Jaedon LeDee was the star of the contest as he scored an NCAA Tournament program-record 32 points, the most ever by an Aztec in March Madness.

“I was playing hard,” LeDee said postgame. “My teammates were helping me get in the right spots at the right times. Shoutout to UAB they are a really good team. You know, I was just hitting shots today.”

Jaedon LeDee started the game on fire, going 4-4 with nine points. He even drained a triple. However, UAB responded with three straight triples to keep the score close. SDSU led 11-9 at the U16 timeout.

SDSU took control early. LeDee kept his foot on the gas pedal and continued to score with ease. With 8:33 remaining in the first half, LeDee was 6 of 7 with 13 points. Waters subbed in and drained a triple, followed by a mid-range jumper. The Aztecs came to play. They led 27-16 and were shooting 69% from the field.

Credit: San Diego State Basketball

On the other hand, you could see the frustration from the Blazers. They had nine turnovers at this point and were unable to convert baskets. UAB was shooting a miserable 33% against the Aztecs with 7:50 remaining on the clock. They almost had double-digit turnovers with almost a full 30 minutes to go in the Round 1 contest. SDSU had six turnovers.

A quick 8-4 run by UAB brought the score within seven. Efram “Butta” Johnson had eight points on 3-5 shooting and Eric Gaines was 0-5 from the field with four points on (4-4) from the line. UAB’s leading scorer Yaxel Lendeborg committed his third personal foul in the first half and had to leave the floor. He was scoreless.

That didn’t last long. Gaines made back-to-back layups to bring the score within five, 33-28 with 1:11 remaining. UAB closed the half well and turned this into a close contest as the second half was coming up.

SDSU led 35-29 at the half. 21 combined turnovers from both sides, as it was a sloppy half.

Trammell and the Aztecs started the second half well. The senior guard stole the ball from Gaines, and Gaines was forced to foul immediately. Trammell responded by draining a three from the left corner to put the Aztecs up 42-32.

Blazers head coach Andy Kennedy then called a timeout.

Moments later, Butler stole the ball for the fourth time already, which led to a monster dunk on the fast break.

The Aztecs led by 12.

UAB responded right away with an 8-0 run to bring the score within four. Miles Byrd ended the run with a deep three. Those were Byrd’s first points of the contest.

I'd like this amount to  

UAB continued to push hard. They eventually took their first lead of the game and squandered that 12-point lead SDSU held just a few minutes ago.

“We just didn’t panic,” Butler said postgame about UAB’s late run. “We have been in that position before, you know, teams have come back on us before. In the Mountain West, it happens all the time. We were kinda used to it, we had experience and didn’t panic and we knew the game wasn’t over. We had to stop their run and continue to play defense and rebound. We continued to rebound and got fouled for free throws and that was what helped us win.”

The Blazers had a 52-51 lead with 8:44 remaining in the game.

The rest of the game was back and forth. UAB extended their lead to three, and SDSU stormed right back to take a 3-point lead for themselves.

After UAB tied it again, Butler nailed two free throws on a 1-and-1 to take a 64-62 lead with 1:56 remaining in the game.

After more free throws from the Aztecs, they kept the lead late. Up three, Butta Johnson missed the triple to tie the game. LeDee grabbed the board and passed it off to Reese Waters. Waters made the first to go up four and then missed the second but grabbed his own rebound to end it.

The Aztecs held on for the win.

SDSU will meet the winner of Auburn and Yale in the Round of 32.

News & Stats

  • LeDee – 32 points/8 rebounds/1 block/1 steal
  • Butler – 15 points/4 assists/4 steals/ 3 rebounds
  • Waters – 6 points/2 rebounds/1 assist/1 steal
  • SDSU shot 43.6% from the floor. UAB ended 37.7%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *