San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Aztecs Micah Parrish hits clutch corner three with 2.4 seconds left to seal SDSU’s three point win over Irvine

SDSU led for the majority of the game but were forced to fight back late with clutch shots
Photo by Ethan Karlin
Junior Micah Parrish hits the game winning three-point shot against UC Irvine on Nov. 29.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team defeated the UC Irvine Anteaters (6-2) in front of over 12,400 fans at Viejas Arena in a thrilling 72-69 win. Following a 1-2 performance at the Maui Invitational, the Aztecs bounced back against a tough Irvine team with multiple clutch plays down the stretch improving to 5-2 on the year. 

6’10 senior Nathan Mensah led the way for the Aztecs with 18 points and six rebounds on an efficient 7-11 shooting. Mensah made his presence felt in the paint as the forward dominated the Anteaters bigs late in the game with 16 second half points. Senior Matt Bradley also added 14 points and six boards.

Mensah was an issue for Irvine all night as the young bigs on the Anteaters roster struggled to contain the SDSU senior.

“Before the game we thought they were going to double team, so it was already planned that we’re going to become point guards in the paint,” Mensah said. “When I noticed that they are not doubling, we have to take advantage of that by just giving me the ball so that I found the best possible outcome.”

SDSU opened the game with intensity— pressing Irvine right off the tip. The Aztecs defense forced two turnovers and Bradley got SDSU on the board with an and-one layup on the fastbreak. Bradley scored six of the team’s first eight points and set the tone for SDSU early. 

SDSU limited Irvine through the first 10 minutes of the half giving up just nine points at the 10:00 minute mark and holding onto a six point lead. The Aztects got their lead up to nine late in the first half after a Parrish three and free throw. However, the Anteaters closed the gap as standout junior guard DJ Davis and his team finished the half on a 11-4 run. SDSU led just by two, 32-30 at the break.

“The first game after Hawaii is always tough,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “We made a lot of mistakes in the first half. Offensively, just too careless with the ball, trying to force too many things.”

Just like the first half, Bradley got things going for the Aztecs to start the second half with an and-one basket. Mensah made his presence felt as he scored 10 out of the Aztecs next 12 points but Irvine responded to each of his makes.

With 10:09 left in the half, the Anteaters grabbed their first lead since the 16-minute mark in the first half. Davis once again made a difficult shot as he converted an and-one layup on the fastbreak to give Irvine a 49-47 advantage. Davis led all scorers in the contest with 28 points including four three pointers.

Irvine held strongly onto their lead as their frontcourt continued to hit big shots each time the Aztecs would respond. 

SDSU finally found new life when junior guard Lamont Butler found senior Adam Seiko for a massive three to give SDSU the lead 68-67 with just 1:30 remaining. 

On the Anteaters’ responding possession, senior forward Keshad Johnson denied the shot attempt from Irvine to get the ball back for SDSU and control of the game. Mensah had an opportunity to give the Aztecs a three point lead but hit the back of the rim on his shot and Irvine took back over. Irvine came down the court and found junior Dawson Baker who hit a clutch floater to regain the lead 69-68 with just 13 seconds left.

Coming out of the timeout for SDSU, coach Dutcher made his best decision of the night, subbing back in Bradley and Parrish. Down one with 13 seconds left, Bradley would get the inbound for SDSU and penetrate down the left lane drawing in multiple Anteater defenders to collapse on him. He found Parrish readily waiting in the left corner behind the arc to swish the game sealing three pointer.

SDSU fans erupted as Parrish celebrated his game saving shot to avoid a three-game skid for the Aztecs.

“Coach called timeout, and we called the play for Matt, and I told Adam to switch sides because I knew I was going to make it on that side,” Parrish said. “Matt is a great playmaker, so he made the one more pass to me open, and I kind of looked away because I knew I made it.”

The Aztecs struggled behind the arc all game shooting just 28.6% but none bigger than the last two from Seiko and Parrish. 

“Matt took a dribble downhill, he saw Micah in the corner, he pitched the ball. I said Matt’s one of our better playmakers too,” Dutcher said. “He found Micah and to Micah’s credit he stepped in and knocked out a tremendously important three to win the game for us.”

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztecs Micah Parrish hits clutch corner three with 2.4 seconds left to seal SDSU’s three point win over Irvine