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

Downpour from downtown powers No. 24 Aztecs’ 77-64 win at Air Force

Men’s basketball made a season-high 11 3-pointers to fly past the Falcons for the ninth straight time
Chinedu Nwoffiah
San Diego State guard Reese Waters takes a jump shot earlier this season at Viejas Arena. Waters made a career-high five 3-pointers in the Aztecs’ 77-64 win at Air Force on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

While everyone back on the Mesa was getting soaked, the No. 24 San Diego State men’s basketball team brought their splash game to USAF Academy.

The Aztecs shot 70% from the field in the first half while raining a season-high 11 triples in the game, topping Air Force 77-64 at Clune Arena on Tuesday night to move into a four-way tie for first place in the Mountain West Conference.

“We’ve shot it well the last three games, which has made a huge difference in our performance,” said head coach Brian Dutcher. “It makes us a much more dangerous offensive team, and now with the inside-out game, we’re getting better offensively.”

Guard Reese Waters sank a career high five 3-pointers, tying for the game-high with 15 points while four players scored in double-digits as SDSU (18-5, 7-3 Mountain West) jumped out to their second-largest halftime lead since at least the 1996-1997 season.

“I was just shooting with confidence, something I’ve been working on in the last few days in practice coming off the last game, just being aggressive and looking for my looks,” Waters said. “I’m normally a good shooter, so I know I’ll knock them down.”

The Aztecs used a pair of early runs to build a cushion that the Falcons (8-14, 1-9) rarely trimmed until the final 4:30 of the game with most of the SDSU starters on the bench.

First a 10-0 run pushed the Scarlet and Black lead out to eight with just over seven minutes played, then a 13-0 burst upped the edge to 32-13 with 6:45 remaining in the first half.

SDSU made 14 of 20 from the field and 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes to build a 45-20 halftime lead. It was the largest since the 2020-2021 Aztecs built a 52-16 bulge at the break, which also was against Air Force.

“We got more paint touches today in terms of just getting the ball out and getting open looks, so I think our percentage is going to go up, especially if they’re opening up,” Waters said.

Forward Jaedon LeDee added 14 points and nine rebounds, while guards Micah Parrish had 14 points and Lamont Butler added 11 points. Darrion Trammell made his second straight start, scoring 6 points with a game-high four assists, while forward Jay Pall came off the bench to swat three shots.

“When I’m hitting, when Micah (Parrish) is hitting, Lamont (Butler), Jay Pal, it’s going to open up the floor for Jaedon (LeDee) to have an easier time in the paint and not get dealt with all the time,” Waters said.

Before the final five minutes of the game, Air Force only had four stretches where they scored on back to back possessions and prevented an SDSU score between. Guard Jeffrey Mills and forward Beau Becker each had 15 points for the Falcons.

“It’s an academy team, they’re not going to give in. They hit a rhythm with what they were doing, and they shot 58% in the second half,” Dutcher said. “They played a great second half. That’s why I’m so happy we created the margin we did at halftime — it’s a hard place to play.”

Elsewhere around the Mountain West, Colorado State picked up a home win over Boise State, Nevada won at Utah State and New Mexico topped Wyoming on the road.

SDSU is now tied with the Lobos, Aggies and Broncos atop the table, with New Mexico and Boise State due for return dates at Viejas Arena and the Aztecs still having a trip to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to face Utah State.

“I’m excited to get out of here with a win and to be back in first place in the Mountain West tonight,” Dutcher said.

Up next, SDSU heads to the Silver State to finish the season series against the Nevada Wolf Pack. The Aztecs won the first meeting at Viejas Arena 71-59.

Tip off from the Lawlor Events Center will be at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

About the Contributors
Eric Evelhoch, '23-24 Sports Editor
Eric Evelhoch (he/him/his) is a senior media studies major who was born outside of Detroit, Michigan, and lived in Ventura County, California, for a decade-plus. He is a returning college student and transfer from Santa Barbara City College, where he served as Sports Editor for The Channels. Evelhoch is also a Sports Director for KCR College Radio, where he restarted play-by-play coverage post-pandemic. Currently, he serves as the play-by-play broadcaster for the SDSU ACHA DI hockey team and has filled in on the call for Aztecs sports on the Mountain West Network. His prior freelance experience includes print, digital, online video and audio-only, and broadcast radio formats covering football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and volleyball.
Chinedu Nwoffiah, Photographer