The SDSU Aztecs men’s basketball team left Viejas Arena on a low note with their first loss in conference play against the New Mexico Lobos 76-67 and headed to Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo., to play the Colorado State Rams.
The Red and Black had a 48-43 overall record against the Rams coming into the match but were 14-27 in Moby Arena. SDSU was 2-1 last season versus CSU and won the last match between the two teams on March 11, 2022, which came in Thomas & Mack Center in the Mountain West Championship semifinal game, 63-58. Former CSU guard David Roddy had 22 points on 50% shooting, while CSU guard Isaiah Stevens had 21 points on 69% shooting despite the loss. The Aztec scoring leaders were Trey Pulliam with 11 points and Adam Seiko with 10 points off the bench.
Despite the overall struggles to win in Moby Arena, the Aztecs are off to a decent start in true road performances this season with a 3-0 record (wins coming in Stanford, UNLV, and Wyoming). In games away from Viejas Arena this season, the Red and Black are 4-3.
As of Sunday, the Red and Black have been dropped from the AP Top 25 Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll but are looking to bounce back after their first Quad 2 game loss of the season. In the last 20 games, the Aztecs are 17-3 immediately following a loss.
“We can’t get complacent, we have a tough road game ahead of us,” Adam Seiko said after the 76-67 loss to New Mexico, reassuring the team will put the loss behind them and move forward.
SDSU, who struggled to defend a hot Lobos backcourt which put up 65 points total in the previous match-up, were going up against a Rams team that had two guards shooting 13.3 points per game or better.
The Aztecs would end up limiting the Rams to 37.9% beyond the arc and toughed out an overtime win in Moby Arena, with the final score being 82-76 to get the Red and Black to 5-1 in conference play.
The Rams started the first 2 minutes and six seconds with a 9-2 lead and all points coming from the three-point line, scored by guards John Tonje, Stevens, and Isaiah Rivera.
At the 13:53 mark, Darrion Trammell’s step-back jumper sparked an 8-2 run that ended with Micah Parrish stealing the ball and taking the ball to the rim for a dunk to cut CSU’s lead to two.
After Jaedon LeDee put in a slam dunk at the 4:22 mark, it gave the Red and Black their first lead of the game, and the Aztec defense was keeping the Rams from scoring for over two minutes until Patrick Cartier put in two free throws at the 3:53 mark to give them the lead back.
Cartier’s free throws’ sparked a 9-2 run for the Rams to end the half, as CSU led 34-28 over SDSU.
The Rams were 50% beyond the arc in the first half, while the Aztecs were an ice cold 14%.
Rivera was the lone player in double digits for either team in the first 20 minutes, scoring 11 points and going four for seven from the field.
Lamont Butler was the lead scorer for the Red and Black in the first half, scoring seven points and putting in the only three-pointer for the Aztecs.
The Rams shared the ball well in the first half, recording eight assists, with the assist leaders being Stevens and Jalen Lake, with three each.
It took about three minutes and 15 seconds before the first points were put up in the second half. Lake broke the ice with his second three-pointer of the game for the Rams.
At the 14:44 mark, Trammell put in a lay-up to cut the Rams lead to five, the Aztecs first field goal since the 4:22 mark of the first half.
After Rivera made an and-one lay-up, the Red and Black went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to one, then Cartier made an and-one lay-up to keep the Rams’ slight lead.
The Aztecs got four points in a little over four minutes to get their second lead of the game at 44-43, but then Lake drilled a three to give CSU the lead back.
At the 9:04 mark, Matt Bradley got his first points of the game, coming on two-made free throws to tie the game at 46-46.
Both teams started to exchange the lead for about four minutes, but at the 4:59 mark, Micah Parrish put in a huge three , which he was fouled on to tie the game again. He made the free throw to complete the four-point play, and SDSU led 57-56.
Bradley and Butler extended the Aztecs’ lead with their lay-ups, then Tonje buried a three to cut the SDSU lead to three.
The Rams started to foul and forced the Aztecs to hit free throws. Trammell was the first free throw shooter and made one of two. The Red and Black led 64-60.
The Rams took the ball up court, and Lake was given the ball beyond the arc, took the shot, and drilled it to cut the SDSU lead to one.
The Aztecs had possession and tried to run as much time off the clock, but then Bradley was fouled. He made one of two free throws, and SDSU led 65-63.
With five seconds remaining, Stevens lobbed the ball up in the paint, made it to tie the game up at 65-65, and sent the game into overtime.
SDSU was off to a quick 5-0 run in overtime with two made free throws by Bradley and a Parrish three-pointer and never looked back.
Lake and Tonje both made threes in overtime, but it wouldn’t be enough to come back, and the Aztecs held on to win 82-76.
“This was about toughness and grit,” Dutcher said postgame. “When we created shots for guys, they rose and knocked them down in pressure situations.”
Butler led the team with 19 points and went seven for 14 from the field, while Parrish played really well, had 15 points off the bench, and was a perfect five for five from the field.
Bradley, who scored zero points in the first half, finished with 14 points on four for 14 shooting from the field and five for six from the charity stripe.
“Matt finally started going in the second half,” Butler said postgame on his teammate. “It’s hard to stop him.”
Lake was an electric five for seven beyond the arc and finished with a team-leading 17 points. Four other Rams were in double digits as well.
Although the three-point shooting was poor in the first half for the Aztecs, they finished at 37% beyond the arc.
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“As badly as we played offensively, we hit a rhythm in the second half and got going in our defensive pressure,” Dutcher said postgame. “We made big timely shots.”
With Parrish contributing in a big way, the Red and Black had 27 bench points, while CSU had 15.\
Both teams had 28 points scored in paint, but the Aztecs won on the glass 38 to 32.
The Aztecs stay in Colorado for their next match-up against the Air Force Falcons, who they beat 71-55 in their first conference game of this season, at USAF Academy, Colo., at 7 PM PST on Saturday, January 21.
Adam is a senior at San Diego State University studying journalism & media studies. He is a huge sports fanatic who was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. His favorite sports teams are the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Padres, Toronto Raptors, and San Diego Wave FC. He also writes and reports for The Daily Aztec. When he graduates, he wants to become a sports writer or reporter for a news organization or TV station.