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

Men’s basketball cruises in second half against Saint Mary’s in 79-54 rout

LeDee, Waters, and Parrish combine for 55 of SDSU’s 79 points
Jesse Gordon
San Diego State guard Reese Waters rises for a layup against Saint Mary’s College on Friday, Nov. 17 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Aztecs defeated the Gaels 79-54.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team surged in the second half over the Saint Mary’s Gaels in a 79-54 victory in their first game of the Continental Tires Main Event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

Senior Jaedon LeDee had a game-high 25 points while also collecting eight rebounds. Junior guard Reese Waters recorded 19 points and went 7-of-9 from the field.

The Aztecs’ (3-1) first made field goal was recorded by sophomore forward Elijah Saunders as he followed up LeDee’s missed layup with a putback.

Early in the first half, Saunders had back-to-back blocks at the rim to help keep Saint Mary’s scoreless for the first two minutes of the contest. 

Saunders had a career-high of four blocks.

The Aztecs’ offense got off to a good start that was highlighted by Lamont Butler’s acrobatic layup in traffic as he came off a dribble handoff action with LeDee. 

With 13:07 left in the first half, the Aztecs surrendered its first lead as guard Alex Ducas hit a 3-pointer to give the Gaels an 11-10 lead.

The Gaels (2-2) went on an 18-13 run over the next 10 minutes to take a six-point lead with three minutes remaining in the first half.

Late in the first half, the Aztecs found their rhythm again. Waters hit his defender with a hesitation crossover on his way to the rim for a layup. A minute later, the defense forced a 10-second violation with 2:30 in the half. 

Then, senior guard Micah Parrish hit his defender with a jab step as he knocked down a 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession, the southpaw tacked on two more points from the charity stripe, cutting the deficit to one.

The Aztecs continued their momentum as senior guard Darrion Trammell snared down a rebound and threw a full-court pass to sophomore guard Miles Byrd for a dunk and a 30-29 lead. The dunk finished off a 7-0 run.

On the final offensive possession of the first half, Trammell snake dribbled into the lane and missed a floater, but LeDee tracked down the miss for the tip-in at the buzzer to give the Aztecs a 34-33 lead.

After intermission, the Aztecs’ offense picked off right where it left off.

As Butler drove into the paint, he had his shot blocked, but gathered the basketball right back and used the glass to score the Aztecs’ first bucket of the half.

After a pair of baskets by Saint Mary, LeDee attacked the closeout of his defender, drove to his left and flipped a shot off balance to tie the game at 38 a-piece. 

LeDee went on a personal 6-0 run as the Aztecs took the lead with 15:31 remaining in the second half. The Aztecs would not look back the rest of the way.

On the next offensive possession, Waters drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to extend the run.

LeDee continued his offensive dominance, as he muscled his way into the paint for two more buckets to complete an 11-0 run.

After Gaels center Mitchell Saxen made a free throw to end the Aztecs’ run, Parrish kept the Aztecs’ offense rolling as he nailed a turnaround jump shot in the paint.

The Aztecs’ offense was firing on all cylinders as they continued to play through LeDee. LeDee took a gathered step in the paint and converted a push shot from five feet out to stretch the lead to eight with 11:04 to play.

The Aztecs’ defense also contributed to the second-half run. Byrd came up with a steal underneath the rim that led to Butler drawing a foul in transition. 

Butler would split a pair of free throws.

At one point, the Aztecs forced the Gaels into missing 11 of their next 12 shot attempts.

With 7:37 to go, Waters took a dribble handoff from LeDee, stopped on a dime and swished a turnaround jump shot to extend the Aztecs’ lead to 58-46.

On the next offensive possession, Butler was denied the ball by his defender but countered with a back cut to the rim as LeDee hit him with a pass for a layup.

Butler returned the favor right back with a dump-off to LeDee for a dunk on the very next play.

The Aztecs’ offense stayed hot late in the second half. Running another dribble handoff action with LeDee, Waters drove down the lane and hung in the air for a tough finish at the rim. 

The Scarlet and Black exploded for a 12-0 run that was capped off with Trammell hitting the dagger pull-up 3-pointer with 3:17 to play.

The Aztecs led by as much as 28 points in the game.

Saxen had 16 points to lead the Gaels. Gaels forward Joshua Jefferson also pitched in 12 points.

The Scarlet and Black had a total of 19 assists while also taking care of the basketball, finishing the game with just nine turnovers.

The Aztecs will take on Washington on Sunday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena.

About the Contributor
Mac Pham
Mac Pham, Staff Writer
Mac Pham is a Journalism major and a senior transfer student from Palomar Community College. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2023. Writing stories, story telling, reading and talking to people is something he enjoys doing, so he figured why not talk sports with that. His favorite aspect of sports writing is being an analyst and breaking down the details of a football or a basketball game. In his spare time, Mac is an avid swimmer and likes to play basketball. He hopes to be a sports writer whose calling card is writing articles filled with sports analysis. Mac is bilingual in Vietnamese.