Aztecs take down Air Force 77-64 in dominant win

Credit: Air Force Basketball

Credit: Colorado Springs Gazette

The San Diego State Aztecs headed to Colorado Springs and left victorious. The final score doesn’t give the Aztecs enough credit. SDSU ran away with this game early in the contest and proceeded to dominate the Air Force Falcons on their way to an impressive win.

The Aztecs are now in a four-way tie for first place in the Mountain West with a 18-5 record and 7-3 record in the conference. New Mexico, Utah State, and Boise State are all tied for the lead as the race is wide open heading into the final month of the season.

Air Force falls to 8-14 on the year with a horrid 1-9 record in the conference. This was the Falcons’ fourth game in a row, losing by double digits.

The Aztecs started this game very strong and rolled their way to victory.

Credit: Air Force Basketball

They held a 28-13 lead 12 minutes into the contest. The three-point shooting started hot, as the Aztecs nailed 5-7, and the Falcons made two as well.

The shooting from deep worked, but the Aztecs were actually trying to score in the paint as much as possible. Heading into the game, that was the game plan as the Falcons’ tallest player is 6-foot-7. The focus was to feed Jaedon LeDee, and if needed, the extra pass back out to the perimeter would be much easier with the Falcon’s lack of size. LeDee didn’t score a field goal until the Aztecs already scored 19 points, but proceeded to finish twice in a row at the rim.

SDSU controlled a double-digit lead for a majority of the first half. LeDee, Darrion Trammell, and Reese Waters all had six points midway through the half.

The offense was hot, but the defense was on fire. SDSU forced seven turnovers with about seven minutes remaining in half and racked up four steals. Trammell showed up early with two triples and two steals to begin the contest.

Trammell started his second consecutive game for Brian Dutcher and may see more starts to finish off the regular season, especially if he continues to play the way he is.

Air Force continued to struggle keeping possession and it hurt them. The Aztecs took advantage of it and increased their lead to 20 with around five minutes to go. The offense was in rhythm in the high altitude. There was a point where the Aztecs scored on eight of nine possessions and were firing on all cylinders.

They didn’t let up. Waters proceeded to hit his fourth triple of the game to see his point total reach a game-high 12 points.

The Aztecs shot 70% in the first half, making 14-20 field goals and 8-11 from beyond the arc. That was one of the better offensive halves for SDSU in quite some time. It’s hard to decide if the offense or defense played better in the first half, as the Aztecs held the Falcons to just 31.8% from the field and forced 11 turnovers.

San Diego State led 45-20 and looked to breeze by the 10th-place Falcons.

Waters led with his 12 points. LeDee had seven points at the break, along with Elijah Saunders, who also had seven. Jay Pal didn’t score but grabbed four rebounds while also blocking two shots and ending with a steal. The Aztecs also finished 9-12 from the free-throw line.

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The Falcons needed a miracle to come back and win this game.

Lamont Butler scored in the paint on back-to-back possessions to start the second half.

For the Falcons, Beau Becker nailed two triples and slammed one in to get them going offensively. However, Waters drilled in his fifth three of the night on the following possession.

It seemed like everything Air Force did, SDSU did better. Micah Parrish made the 10th three of the game for the Aztecs as their lead was back up to 23.

In order to maintain this huge advantage, Dutcher and his squad needed a strong start to the second half. They started 4-6, and even though Air Force started the half going 5-5, the Aztecs killed any momentum the Falcons were trying to gain.

Despite the big lead, the Aztecs kept their foot on the gas pedal. Up 21 points, the smallest player on the floor, Trammell, blocked Ethan Taylor’s three-point attempt, leading to a fast break. This team wanted to play a full game and didn’t care what the score was.

San Diego State maintained their huge lead and finished off the Falcons for the win.

The Aztecs have just eight games remaining to try and claim the conference.

Up next, they take on Nevada on the road in Reno in a huge matchup. SDSU won by 12 in the first match-up at home, but the Wolf Pack are coming off a massive win against Utah State Tuesday night in an upset win.

That game is this Friday, February 9, at 5:00 pm on CBSSN.

News & StatsΒ 

  • Waters ended with 15 points, all coming from the 3-ball (5-8).
  • Parrish ended with 14 points, two assists, and one steal
  • LeDee finished with 14 points and nine rebounds
  • Pal just had one point but had five rebounds, three blocks, two assists, one steal, and was a game-high +15 in point difference
  • Air Force committed 14 turnovers.
  • Becker and Jeffery Mills ended with a combined 30 points for the Falcons
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