Did you think it would go any other way? For San Diego State’s basketball team, 2023 has been a grin & bare it kind of year. Thursday at noon in the desert illustrated that sentiment perfectly.
The #1 seeded Aztecs took down the #8 Colorado State Rams 64-61 in the quarterfinals matchup of the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday afternoon at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Arena.
The Aztecs had to grind every last second to earn this hard-fought victory—both on the offensive and defensive end. The Rams behind John Tonje came out firing against the Aztecs jumping out to an 8-0 lead to start the game. After the Aztecs settled in they went into the 1st half up by two.
Arguably the most talented point guard of the conference Isaiah Stevens was held in check for the large majority of the night, going scoreless until he finished with 16 points on 20 shot attempts. Lamont Butler showed why many in the media named him the MW Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The offensive play that sealed the game for the Aztecs came when Adam Seiko knocked down a 3 pointer to put SDSU up by 4 with just over three minutes to go.
Despite a late game heroic three pointer by Isaiah Stevens and a final shot attempt with .7 seconds left to play, the final defensive stand came when Nathan Mensah was able to corral a rebound and knock down 1 of 2 free throws.
Lamont Butler lead all Aztecs scorers with 16 points, Matt Bradley followed with 13, and Jaedon LeDee muscled out 10 hard earned points.
The Aztecs are set to face hot streaking San Jose State Friday night at 6:30pm PST. The Spartans are playing their best basketball of the season after upsetting their quarterfinals matchup against Nevada. Winners of 3 in a row, the last loss Tim Miles’ team suffered was to the very Wolfpack they beat today.
It was San Jose State’s official 1st MW tournament victory…EVER.
Quite an accomplishment and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Omari Moore is considered an NBA type talent for the Spartans and their entire team is playing with a togetherness needed to be special in March. The matchup between the two teams Friday will be their third time meeting this season with the Aztecs firmly victorious in both.
Though San Jose is a talented and streaking team, we look for the muscle and experience of the mature Aztecs to show themselves strong.
More to come in our Sons of Montezuma YouTube livecast update this evening. Stay tuned and subscribe today.