SDSU men’s basketball crowned outright Mountain West champions after home win against Wyoming

The Aztecs’ road to the Mountain West title has not been easy but a dominant performance against Wyoming wrapped up a great regular season

The+Aztec+mens+basketball+team+hoists+the+2022-23+Mountain+West+trophy+following+the+win+over+Wyoming+on+March+4.+

Noelani Sapla

The Aztec men’s basketball team hoists the 2022-23 Mountain West trophy following the win over Wyoming on March 4.

by Jake Enrico, Staff Writer

Saturday night at San Diego State ended in celebration for the men’s basketball team as the Aztecs beat Wyoming 67-50 to win the Mountain West Conference regular season title outright heading into tournament play. The Aztecs honored eight seniors on their senior night as the players were accompanied by their friends and families in front of a packed Viejas Arena. 

The crowd was very loud throughout the entire night with the student section rumbling during the white-out themed game. 

“We have the best fan base on the West Coast,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “They come out here and support us every time. They’re loyal. They’re loud and they’re proud of their Aztecs just like we all are.”

The eight seniors honored included Tyler and Triston Broughton, Nathan Mensah, Matt Bradley, Adam Seiko, Aguek Arop, Jared Barnett and Keshad Johnson. 

It was one of the few seniors that was not honored who led the way for the Aztecs as Jaedon LeDee put up 21 points on 8-9 shooting with eight rebounds. LeDee is expected to return next year due to his extra year of eligibility. 

Seiko went 4-5 from behind the arc to add 14 points for SDSU. Seiko leaves the SDSU as the winningest player in program history.

Five seniors got the start for SDSU as Arop and Seiko who usually feature off the bench got to start. Arop started the Aztecs off strong with an offensive rebound and basket to give SDSU an early lead. 

The Aztecs, as they have done many times this regular season, started out in a full-court press and had Wyoming turning the ball over early. After a couple transition baskets, Seiko hit a 3-pointer to give SDSU a 7-0 lead before the game’s first timeout.

Wyoming went scoreless through the first five minutes however got on track as they hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get on board. LeDee made his presence felt instantly as the junior forward seemed to have a hand on every offensive board near him. He scored SDSU’s next four points including an emphatic dunk midway through the half.

The SDSU defense held the Cowboys scoreless for nearly five minutes and in that time, senior guard Darrion Trammell and junior guard Micah Parrish hit back-to-back three’s extending the Aztec lead to nine.

LeDee continued his solid play with two more baskets with just under two minutes left giving SDSU a comfortable 34-15 lead. The Cowboys, however, closed out the half on a 7-0 run to go into the break down 34-22.

Despite a loud and confident San Diego home crowd, Wyoming continued to fight and opened up the second half with energy. The Cowboys quickly forced an SDSU turnover and scored on the other end to cut the lead down to 10.

This was the closest Wyoming got to the Aztecs as LeDee checked in and instantly scored four straight points. Seiko hit back-to-back 3-pointers and brought SDSU’s lead back up to 17 points.

The rest of the game was all SDSU as other seniors like Bradley and Johnson helped close out Wyoming down the stretch including the game sealer as Bradley hit a step-back 3-pointer from the corner in what would be his last shot at Viejas Arena. 

Bradley has been a leader for SDSU ever since joining the team and this marks his first Mountain West title in a year he led the team in scoring.

“I think just us recognizing everybody,” Bradley said. “It was a team effort to get all these wins. It wasn’t just on us. It was the crowd, the fans, the coaches. It took everybody to get involved for us to win this game. So us all being on the court together, we all got this championship. That’s what we recognized in that moment and it was really special.”

As soon as the final buzzer sounded, Viejas Arena erupted in cheers and fans stormed the court to join the players and coaches in hoisting the Mountain West title. The fans also got to be up close to see the traditional net cutting that college basketball fans across the nation love so much.  

“Regular season titles are always the hardest thing to get because it takes months and a lot of work and to win this conference by two games is an incredible accomplishment,” Dutcher said. “And it’s thanks to a great coaching staff and really good players. They care about one another, they care about winning.”

San Diego State finished 15-3 in the Mountain West, an impressive accomplishment as the conference featured five teams winning 21 or more games. The season had many close and tough games for SDSU which Johnson put into perspective. 

“That just shows all the dedication we’ve put in,” Johnson said. “A long line of dedication, concentration, blood, sweat, and tears, and this is just the result of all the work that we put in.” 

The Aztecs have much more to play for this season as they enter the Mountain West Tournament as the number one seed. The tournament will take place March 8-11 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.