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 wins Continental Tire Main Event in overtime, 100-97

The Aztecs outlasted Washington, as LeDee and Sauders set new career highs
Jesse Gordon
San Diego State guard Lamont Butler breaks free for a slam dunk during the championship game of the Continental Tire Main Event on Sunday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Aztecs outlasted the Washington Huskies in overtime, 100-97.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team survived a furious rally by the Washington Huskies, prevailing 100-97 in an overtime win at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

Senior forward Jaedon LeDee exploded for career highs in points (34) and rebounds (17) for his third double-double of the season. Sophomore forward Elijah Saunders chipped in a career-high 16 points and 8 rebounds while also going a perfect 3-for-3 from deep.

Early in the contest, senior guard Lamont Butler drove down the lane, spun to his strong hand and converted a layup to put the Aztecs (4-1) up 5-3 early.

With 16:00 to play in the first half, Saunders came up with back-to-back defensive plays.

First, Saunders blocked a shot at the rim and then on the next defensive possession, he deflected the ball from behind that was picked up by Butler. Butler threw an outlet pass to LeDee for a dunk to go up 11-8.

Following an 8-2 run by the Huskies (3-2), junior guard Reese Waters slipped out of the screen for Butler and Butler hit him for a 3-pointer at the top of the key to tie the score at 16 apiece.

In the first 10 minutes of the first half, the Aztecs defense gave up five 3-pointers to the Huskies.

As the two teams went back and forth early, sophomore guard Miles Byrd forced a missed 3-pointer with a hard closeout to the corner. Senior guard Darrion Trammell crashed the glass for the rebound and threw an outlet pass to Byrd in transition for a layup.

The Aztecs started to fall into a hole, as there was miscommunication by two defenders, allowing Huskies center Franck Kepnang to roll to the rim for a dunk and extend the Huskies’ lead to seven with 7:27 remaining in the half.

Saunders, however, answered right back with a triple from the corner.

A few minutes later, LeDee’s post-defense led to an offensive foul on the Huskies. Ensuing play, senior guard Micah Parrish cashed in a 3-pointer off the dribble to give the Aztecs a 36-35 lead.

Things proceeded to swing back and forth. Waters faked a pass, took one dribble and knocked down a mid-range jumper to tie the game at 38 a-piece.

On the final possession of the first half, Trammell side-stepped to his right, and swished a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Aztecs took a 43-40 lead, heading into intermission.

It was the second straight game that the Aztecs scored at the buzzer in the first half.

The game stayed tight throughout the second half, as Washington took a lead with just over five minutes played. Senior forward Jay Pal faced a double team in the corner, he threw a skip pass to Byrd on the wing for a deep 3-pointer to put SDSU back in front by two.

Ensuing play, Byrd deflected a pass, dove on the floor for basketball and flipped it ahead to Pal. Pal drove to the rim, had his shot blocked but gathered the ball right back for a layup as the Scarlet and Black took a four-point lead.

The Huskies started to show a 2-3 zone in the second half. Pal was able to break the zone by flashing to the middle of the zone, took one dribble and connected on a floater.

Head coach Brian Dutcher spoke about the zone defense that the Aztecs faced in the second half.

“We weren’t great but we followed instructions,” Dutcher said. “Jaedon (LeDee) made a couple of really nice mid-range jump shots against the zone.”

The Aztecs’ offense continued to find ways to score. As Trammell dribbled into the paint, he did a no-look pass on a kick-out to Parrish in the corner. Parrish drilled the 3-pointer and was fouled on the shot.

Parrish converted the 4-point play as the Aztecs took a 6-point lead with 10:41 to play in the second half.

With 8:33 to play, LeDee continued to carry the workload. He completed a personal 6-0 run with a mid-range jump as two defenders heavily contested.

The Aztecs started to find some distance from the Huskies as Saunders hit a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Then Butler slid his feet on defense, poked the ball away and took the basketball coast-to-coast for a fastbreak dunk to increase the lead to 12 with 5:14 remaining.

Following a layup by Huskies guard Koren Johnson, Washington started to trap the Aztecs from full court. The Aztecs offense started to get sloppy and struggled to beat the Huskies’ press, which set up Washington to go on a 12-3 run to close regulation

The Huskies had a chance to win when guard Paul Mulcahy was fouled by LeDee on an attempted fadeaway shot with one second to play.

Mulcahy missed the front end of his free throws that rolled off the front rim. Following the first free throw, Mulcahy rattled home the second attempt to tie the game at 85 all, sending the game to overtime.

San Diego State forward Jaedon LeDee is interviewed after being named the Most Valuable Player of the Continental Tire Main Event on Sunday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. LeDee became the first Aztec since at least 1996-97 to score at least 34 points and grab 17 rebounds (both personal career highs) in a game. (Jesse Gordon)

In overtime, the Huskies scored on their first six offensive possessions, leading by four twice.

LeDee stayed aggressive, drawing fouls on back-to-back possessions and making both free throws.  Then he banked in a tough shot to give the Scarlet and Black the go-ahead lead with 36 seconds remaining.

Dutcher had high praise for the big man after an electric performance.

“He’s hard to guard because he’s versatile,” Dutcher said. “That’s going to make him very dangerous for our opponents this year.”

Nursing a 1-point lead, Butler came over to help from the nail and the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year nabbed a steal with 14 seconds remaining.

Butler had a game-high five steals.

It was the first time the Aztecs hit the century mark since they scored 103 points in a win over Texas Southern dating back to 2018. All five starters for the Huskies started in double figures.

The Aztecs won the battle on the boards 42-35, collecting nine more offensive rebounds. The Aztecs connected on 31-of-41 from the charity stripe.

The Aztecs will match up against California at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25 at the Pavillion at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano as part of the SoCal Showcase.

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.