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

Lamont Butler’s game winning three at the buzzer clinches the Aztecs’ Mountain West title share

SDSU hit multiple clutch 3-pointers to fight back from down 13 points against New Mexico to win their sixth straight game
Maddie Cadena
Junior Lamont Butler dribbles across on the court in a game versus Utah State on Jan. 25. Butler was the hero this weekend, hitting a game-winning three versus New Mexico.

The Mountain West Conference title is coming back to San Diego after the San Diego State men’s basketball team traveled to New Mexico to take on the Lobos in a thrilling 73-71 win that featured some heroics from an unlikely hero. 

Lamont Butler is the name to know in San Diego as the junior guard reclaimed at least a share of the Mountain West championship for his Aztecs with his game-winning 3-pointer as time expired. 

After the Lobos took the lead 71-70 with 5.6 seconds left, it seemed to be over for SDSU as the New Mexico crowd loudly made its presence felt. Butler silenced the cheers as he took the ball down to the top of the 3-point line and hit the biggest shot of his collegiate career and the biggest shot of this 2023 Aztec campaign.

”I got the ball with around five seconds to go,” Butler said. ”I got to half court and I fumbled it a little bit. As soon as I looked up, there were two seconds left and I knew I had to let it go. I’m just happy the shot went in.”

The win improved SDSU to 23-5 on the year, marking head coach Brian Dutcher’s fourth straight season winning 23 or more games. 

SDSU started off strong as senior guard Matt Bradley hit a jumper right before finding senior forward Keshad Johnson for a dunk to give SDSU a six point advantage, 8-2. 

Halfway through the first half, the Lobos took their first lead of the game as they hit a 3-pointer to jump in front 15-13. Bradley and Butler both responded however, each hitting a jumper. Bradley did a little bit of everything finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

New Mexico finished the half strong on a 13-2 run to take a 10-point lead going into the break, 37-27. This was the second time this season the Lobos were able to have a double-digit advantage against SDSU going into halftime, whereas back on Jan. 14 they closed out the Aztecs 76-67 at Viejas.

SDSU found its deficit growing in the second half as junior Jamal Mashburn Jr. hit a jump shot to give the Lobos their biggest lead of the game, 42-29. Mashburn finished with a game-high 20 points.

Up until the nine minute mark in the second half, the two Mountain West rivals traded baskets and New Mexico kept a comfortable lead over SDSU, primarily answering any attempt to cut the lead down.

However, with seven minutes to go in the game, senior guard Darrion Trammell and Johnson both hit back to back three’s to cut the New Mexico lead down to one. Then, senior forward Aguek Arop gave SDSU the lead 59-58, the first since midway through the first half.

Both teams went back and forth trading baskets on the next five possessions but once again, Trammell responded with a 3-pointer of his own to give the Aztecs a 67-64 lead with just over two minutes to to go. 

Trammell led SDSU in scoring with 18 points including four 3-pointers.

After the Aztecs held a 70-66 lead with just under 30 seconds remaining, Mashburn Jr. was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws to cut the SDSU lead down to one. The Lobos then got in their full court press and forced a turnover to get the ball right back.

They elected not to take a timeout and took the ball right down into the paint to convert a go-ahead layup to regain the lead 71-70 with just 5.6 seconds remaining.

It had looked as if the Lobos had stolen this one from SDSU however Butler felt otherwise.

Butler stunned the New Mexico crowd after hitting the game winning 3-pointer as time expired to seal the Aztecs victory 73-71, clinching a share of the Mountain West championship. 

”Obviously, I didn’t draw a play up for Lamont to come down and shoot a 3 with six seconds,” Dutcher said. ”I said we have six dribbles with six seconds. We tried to get him up the sidelines and get him to the rim, try to win it at the rim.

Regardless of the original play, Butler calmly took matters into his own hands and iced the game to cap off the SDSU comeback.

SDSU has achieved goal number one as they can win the Mountain West outright with just one win in their final two games. 

The Aztecs leave this thriller and stay on the road as they will travel to Boise, Idaho to take on the Boise State Broncos on Feb. 28 in their second to last conference matchup. 

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Lamont Butler’s game winning three at the buzzer clinches the Aztecs’ Mountain West title share