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

Aztec Basketball rout San Jose State Spartans in 72-51 win

Keshad Johnson’s big game helps the Aztecs stay atop the conference with a victory
Maddie Cadena
Senior guard Darrion Trammell drives to the hoop in a game versus Utah State on Jan. 25.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team won its tenth straight game versus the San Jose State Spartans Saturday night in a game that was dominated by senior forward Keshad Johnson and the Aztec offense. 

The Aztecs and Spartans met for their 81st overall meeting and the first time during the 2022-23 campaign. The team currently owns a 45-35 series advantage over the Spartans. In Viejas Arena, SDSU is 11-0, and overall 31-8 in home games against SJSU. The last time San Diego State played San Jose State was on Feb. 25, 2022, which resulted in a 75-52 win for the Aztecs in Viejas Arena. 

To start the game, both teams started strong defensively with points hard to come by within the first 12 minutes. The Aztecs limited the Spartans to just 5-17 from the field, while holding them to 1-8 from deep. Momentum shifted as Johnson slammed in a dunk after a pass from senior forward Jaedon LeDee. Senior forward Aguek Arop also got in on the fun as he threaded a pass to LeDee for a slam dunk that got the crowd roaring. With less than five minutes left in the first half, and another Johnson dunk, the Aztecs extended their lead to 23-13. 

On the defensive end of the ball, the Aztecs played aggressive and forced San Jose State to commit turnover after turnover. 

As the half came to a close with under three minutes left, Arop and Johnson each recorded blocks to help keep the Aztecs ahead by double digits at 27-14. Senior guard Darrion Trammel picked up a loose ball in the final two minutes of the first half before passing it ahead to junior guard Micah Parrish who threw a lob to Johnson for yet another slam. 

SDSU continued to dominate the Spartans defensively, as the Aztecs held San Jose State to 0-14 from the field in the final 10 minutes of the first half to go into the locker room with a 33-14 lead. The Aztecs held San Jose State to 5-20 (25%) from the field in the first half, finishing on a 25-3 run. 

The Spartans committed 10 total turnovers in the first half, which the Aztecs capitalized on— scoring 10 points off turnovers. The Aztecs finished the half with an impressive one turnover.  

“We’ve done a great job of taking care of the ball,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “That’s had a lot to do with our success at the offensive end.”  

As the second half began, San Diego State went on another run to outscore the Spartans 13-5 over the opening five minutes of playing time. The Aztecs cruised to a 46-19 lead. Senior guard Matt Bradley scored six points, while senior forward Nathan Mensah made another dunk in that span.  

San Jose State tried to fight back, going on a 18-4 run to cut the deficit to 51-37 with less than 10 minutes left in the game. Once senior guard Adam Seiko hit a three to give the Aztecs a 66-48 lead, comeback hopes were almost extinguished.

“When we come back out for the second half, we have to keep that same energy,” Johnson said. “Make good plays after good plays.” 

LeDee noted the importance of  the team’s strong defensive play.

“We take defense really personally here,” he said. “So, you know we kind of looked at it and then, our biggest thing was just trying to shorten their run. You know, they are going to make runs. They kind of went on a good run. Like Keshad said, we’re going to get back tomorrow and look at it, move onto the next.” 

Throughout the game, the Aztecs took care of the ball—finishing with only three turnovers. They were the fewest turnovers committed against a Division 1 opponent in the Mountain West era. 

Johnson led the Aztecs in scoring with 16 points, going 7-10 from the field, and grabbing eight rebounds. Bradley finished right behind with 14 points. 

Following a loss to Nevada in Reno on Tuesday, the Aztecs are tied atop the Mountain West Conference standings at a conference record of 8-2, tied with Boise State. This week’s Friday night matchup versus Boise State is crucial if San Diego State wants to take control of the conference.

About the Contributor
Roman Aguilar
Roman Aguilar, '24-25 Sports Editor, '23 -24 Sports Editor
Roman Aguilar (he/him/his) is a second-year journalism major with an emphasis in public relations from Stockton, California. Since he was little, he loved watching sports and being able to tell a good story out of an exciting game matchup. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022 as a contributor and staff writer for the sports section, covering a multitude of sports including football, men's basketball, and water polo, before moving on to sports editor. Aguilar is also a blog writer for KCR College Radio, attending concerts and having the opportunity to cover shows and interview artists. When he isn't writing articles related to music or sports, you can see Roman going to local concert shows on a near-weekly basis and watching his favorite horror movies.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztec Basketball rout San Jose State Spartans in 72-51 win