Surging Aztecs put it all together over the Rams 77-58

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Tyler Perches
Contributing Reporter

The Aztecs put it all together Tuesday night as they jumped out over Colorado State by 15 at halftime, and easily cruised to a 19-point victory (77-58)  over the Rams. 

Five Aztecs scored in double figures in the victory which improved the season record for Brian Dutcher’s team to a league best 13-2, and 22-5 overall.

Overall,  SDSU shot 48.1% (26-54) from the field and 82.6% (19-23) from the free throw line. While,  Colorado State only shot 48% (24-50) from the field, and was only 21.4% (3-14) from beyond the arc. 

Our Top Aztec performer of the game was Forward Jaedon LeDee. Off the bench,  LeDee scored 14 ponts, which led the team, and also grabbed six rebounds which was the most on the night for any SDSU player. 

LeDee was called upon early when starting Center Nathan Mensah picked up his second foul very early in the game, forcing him to sit the rest of the half out. Almost immediately the Rams were out-matched as this was one of LeDee’s better games of the season.

On the floor, LeDee did everything to the highest level. From making a couple of mid-range jump shots to grabbing a bunch of rebounds over and around a variety of CSU players. In addition, when LeDee switched to smaller guards he was able to move and stay in front of them, and make them take tough shots.

Coach Dutcher acknowledged LeDee’s steady improvement in the AM 760’s Aztecs Post Game show.

“He’s getting better. He’s had the most growth maybe of anybody from the start of the year til now. I think hearly in the year he was forcing his game maybe pressing a little too hard. And now he’s more comfortable within the offense he knows where his shots are coming from. He’s moving better and with more assertiveness. He’s more comfortable and we’re a better team because of it.”

Another player that had a spectacular game was Matt Bradley. Bradley had a pretty efficient game from the field going 5-9 from the field,  2-5 from long distance, and also knocked down his only free throw attempt. 

When Bradley plays well, usually so do the Aztecs. What was special on this night however, is that Bradley was able to find that perfect balance as his 13 points was the second most from an Aztec on the evening—keeping the defense honest and allowing others to get involved. 

Another player off the bench that had a great game was Micah Parrish. Parrish scored 12 points when he shot 50% (4-8) from the field, and (3-5) 60% from beyond the arc. Most of Parrish’s damage was from beyond the arc when the CSU’s defense overplayed and let Parrish be wide open from 3. 

Darrion Trammell and Lamont Butler the two starting guards had stellar games. Both scored 11 points and were great at running the offense. With both dishing out 5 assists each, they only combined to turnover the ball 3 times.  

This output was night and day compared to SDSU’s last contest for these two starting guards, in which versus Fresno State, they combined for only 6 points and three dimes. If Trammell and Butler make great decisions, the Aztecs are in good hands. 

As Trammell noted on AM 760’s post game show, “I think the break really gave me a lot of time to get in the gym, watch a lot of film and understand where my misses were coming from.”

“That’s the big thing about being a point guard, I have to score and facilitate. It’s a fine line that me and Dutcher always spoke about during the summer. Being able to do both—knowing when to take which shot and knowing when to get off it and give it to someone else to get their shot. I think tonight it just clicked for me”

Even, in the loss, Colorado State had two players who played great. Those two were guard Isiah Stevens and  Foward John Tonje. 

Tonje led the Rams in scoring with 18 points. Tonje shot 7-12 from the field, 1-3 from beyond the arc, and 3-4 from the free throw line. 

Star guard Isaiah Stevens had another great performance. Stevens scored 15 points, where 11 of them came in the second half. From the field, Stevens shot 7-13 from the field and made his one free throw attempt. 

Even though, Tonje and Stevens combined to score 33 points, and shoot 53.8% from the field, the Rams didn’t get much help from anybody else. This caused CSU to still lose by 19 points to a smothering San Diego State defense.

Coach Dutcher highlighted the fact that only 3 three pointers by the Rams was a big key in stopping their capable offense.

The last game they made 11 three’s against us. So we stayed extended maybe gave them more drives because of it. I thought our defense was solid even though they shot a good percentage. It’s hard to beat us on two’s you need to get a certain number of threes.

The lone negative to this victory was seeing Matt Bradley go out late in the game with an apparent hand injury. Dutcher acknowledged there was a knot on the top of his hand and they would monitor it, but early reports suggest Bradley should be just fine moving forward.

Next game, the Aztecs will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday, February 25th  to play against the University of New Mexico  Lobos(20-7, 7-7). The game tips off at 7:00 pm and airs on CBS Sports Network. 

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