The San Diego State Aztecs (#17) defeated Stanford, 74-62, to improve its record to 3-0. The Cardinal dropped to 1-2. The schools met for the first time since the 1997-1998 season, and the Aztecs finally beat the Cardinal after losing the first four meetings.
The Aztecs never trailed, led by as many as 17 points in the first half, and held on in the second half despite the Cardinal’s attempts to get back in the game.
SDSU shot 51% (26 of 51) from the field while holding Stanford to only 40% (21 of 52) and forced 17 turnovers (nine steals). All nine players head coach Brian Dutcher inserted into the game scored, and none played more than 29 minutes.
Over the first two games, the Aztecs only held a three-point advantage in the first half but a 27-point advantage in the second half.
They flipped the story tonight when hot outside shooting (made five of their first eight three-point attempts) and six quick inside points by Jaedon Ledee opened a 15-point lead early. A later 7-0 run started by a Lamont Butler three-pointer that bounced on the rim several times before dropping gave the Aztecs its biggest lead at 41-24. The Aztecs took a 41-30 lead into halftime after shooting a blazing 59% from the field and assisting on nine of 16 made baskets.
Jaedon Ledee led the Aztecs with 14 points (6 of 8), but Lamont Butler was the best player on the court, adding 11 points (3 of 5), two three-pointers, six assists, and zero turnovers.
Darrion Trammell, the first Mountain West Player of the Week this season, after averaging 19.5 points per game and shooting 70% from the three-point line, struggled from the field, missing all five shot attempts. However, he made six of seven free throws and assisted on six baskets to only one turnover.
Matt Bradley came into this game only averaging seven points per game and shooting only 21.7% (5 of 23) from the field in the first two games. He knocked down a three-pointer from the right wing on the first possession of the game but did not make his next basket, a turnaround jumper until five minutes remained in the first half. He finished with seven points on three of ten shooting and battled foul trouble in the second half.
Keshad Johnson, who injured his right shoulder in the opening minute of the season against Cal State Fullerton eight days ago and only played seven minutes against BYU, started and played 24 minutes and was second on the team with 11 points (5 of 8).
The Cardinal came out of halftime with energy and crashed the offensive boards (12 total for the game) to cut the lead to 43-36. Brandon Angel’s three-pointer to cut the lead to four missed, and the Aztecs scored six straight points to extend the lead back to 13.
Later in the second half, back-to-back threes by Spencer Jones and Max Murrell cut the lead to 54-48, but the Aztecs responded once again with five straight points to push the lead back to double digits.
The exclamation point on the win came when Trammell stole the ball on a cross-court pass and passed it behind his back to Butler for the one-handed slam to make it 72-57 with two minutes left.
Jones led the Cardinal with 15 points and six rebounds but only made four of 15 field goals.
Harrison Ingram, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year last year, scored 11 points (4-9 from the field) while being hounded by Butler for the entire game. Davidson transfer Michael Jones, who scored 31 points in the opener last week, was held to 0 points by the Aztecs’ defense.
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The Cardinal outrebounded the Aztecs 32 to 27 and scored 11 second-chance points (zero for the Aztecs).
Aguek Arop was charged with a flagrant one-foul in the second half after an official review for elbowing James Keefe on a rebound attempt. Keefe missed one of two free throw attempts, and the Aztecs forced a turnover on the ensuing possession to mitigate the call.
The Aztecs next travel to Hawai’i to play three games in three nights in the Maui Invitational, starting Monday night against Ohio State. That game starts at 6 pm PT and will be televised on ESPN2.
Avid sports fan and historian of basketball, baseball, football and soccer. UC San Diego and San Diego State alumni living in America’s Finest City. Diverse team following across multiple sports leagues, but Aztecs come first in college athletics.