Upon returning to Viejas Arena from Maui, the Aztecs have defeated UC Irvine in a nail-biter victory 72-69 courtesy of a Micah Parrish three-pointer in the dying seconds of the game and a 37-point win over the Occidental College Tigers 95-57.
After the win versus the Tigers, it made #22 SDSU 4-0 at home, and tonight they were trying to make it 5-0 against the Troy Trojans. The Aztecs haven’t played them since 2003, which was the first-ever game between the two teams, and Troy won 93-84.
The Trojans came into the game with a 6-3 record after falling short to the SIUE Cougars on Saturday, 72-78. Despite the loss, the Trojans had four players with double-digit points that put up 44 points of the 72.
Darrion Trammell sat out last game against Occidental College due to a hamstring injury he acquired versus UC Irvine but was back in the lineup tonight. Through seven games, the 5′ 10 guard still led the team in points per game with 13.1.
The Scarlet and Black were able to survive a late push from the Trojans and defeat them 60-55 and make it 5-0 at home, 7-2 overall, and gave Troy State their fourth loss of the season.
“I feel bad for the schedule I put together,” head coach Brian Dutcher said postgame. “They’re a really good team and well coached. The toughest team always wins.”
The Trojan’s only player over 6′ 9, Nate Tshimanga, was scratched from the contest, leaving the other seven Trojan forwards to fight the Aztecs’ big men in the paint, one of them being 6′ 10, Nathan Mensah.
The Aztecs opened the game on a 6-0 run with points from Lamont Butler, Matt Bradley, and Trammell, while the SDSU defense forced the Trojans to miss seven early field goals.
Troy State ended the Aztecs’ run and got momentum stirred their way with seven points from Aamer Muhammad and a stepback jumper from Christyon Eugene to close the game to two.
Nelson Phillips, who leads the team in points, gave the Trojans their first lead of the game with his three-pointer and made it 12-11.
After Troy State went up 17-14, the Aztecs kept it close with five points from Bradley and a Mensah slam dunk, but the Trojans were still up by four, 25-21.
At a media timeout, a Troy State player said, “win these next four, go up eight by half,” but that wasn’t the case, as the Trojans ended the half up 33-29.
Muhammad was the leading scorer for Troy State in the first half, scoring 13 points, shooting five-for-eight from the field and three-for-five beyond the arc in just a little over 11 minutes off the bench.
Bradley ended the first half with nine points and shot 80% from the field in just a little over 13 minutes played, while Trammell had seven points and shot 50% from the field in 17 minutes.
The significant stat for the Scarlet and Black in the first 20 minutes was that they shot two-for-11 beyond the arc, while the Trojans’ significant stat was that they got 21 of their 33 points from the bench.
Just like the start of the first half, the Aztecs opened the second half with a 6-0, courtesy of Trammell making two free throws, Bradley hitting a jumper, and Nathan Mensah with a wide-open dunk. The run gave the Aztecs their second lead of the game, 35-33.
After the Trojans stirred momentum their way with an 8-0 run to jump out 45-37, Jaedon LeDee ended the run with a dunk, then Butler, Trammell, and Arop closed Troy State’s lead to two.
When the Trojans couldn’t score after a timeout, Bradley, on the Aztecs’ ensuing drive, made a stepback jumper to tie the game at 47-47.
Adam Seiko gave the Scarlet and Black the lead with his three-pointer, and SDSU never gave it up. Even with Troy State on the backs of the Aztecs, they still weren’t able to make a comeback, and the Scarlet and Black won 60-55.
Despite the Trojans keeping it close, they only shot 32.8% from the field and had 34 points off the bench.
The Aztecs shot 41.5% from the field and had a poor performance behind the arc, shooting four-for-22 (18.2%).
“That’s basketball, struggles happen,” Trammell said postgame after he went one-for-six beyond the arc. “All I can do is continue to work.”
Bradley led the team with 19 points and shot 70% from the field, while Trammell had 14 points and went four-for-13 from the field.
Muhammad finished the game with 21 points and went six-for-17 from the field and four-for-10 from beyond the arc in almost 26 minutes off the bench.
The Aztecs won on the glass 37 to 32, with 26 coming defensively. The Scarlet and Black won the better of second chance points 15-to-five.
Next match up for the Aztecs is against Saint Mary’s at the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix, Ariz., on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 12 pm. SDSU won last year’s Jerry Colangelo Classic game versus the Gaels 63-53 behind Bradley, Seiko, and Trey Pulliam, putting up double-digit points in over 30 minutes of playing time each.
“They’re really good offensively and efficient,” Dutcher said postgame. “If we guard hard and they guard hard, it might be in the 30s, we don’t know, but whenever we need to win, we’re gonna get it.”
The Scarlet and Black currently have a 7-6 record versus Saint Mary’s and have won the last three games against the team.