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 defeats UAB, 69-65 in first round of NCAA Tournament

Jaedon LeDee held a dominant 32 point game to advance the Aztecs to the second round
San+Diego+State+guard+Lamont+Butler+pops+for+a+shot+in+the+2024+Mountain+West+Mens+Championship+Final.+Butler+made+the+100th+start+of+his+Aztecs+career+in+SDSUs+69-65+win+over+UAB+in+the+first+round+of+the+NCAA+Mens+Basketball+Tournament+on+Friday%2C+March+22.
Chinedu Nwoffiah
San Diego State guard Lamont Butler pops for a shot in the 2024 Mountain West Men’s Championship Final. Butler made the 100th start of his Aztecs career in SDSU’s 69-65 win over UAB in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Friday, March 22.

No. 5-seeded San Diego State men’s basketball defeated the 12-seed UAB, 69-65, on Friday to move past the first round of the NCAA tournament and keep dancing. The Aztecs (25-10) iced the game after they scored their final points in free throws, making 8-of-10 in the final 2:39.

LeDee scored 32 points and was 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He topped 30 points for the fourth time this season while finishing two short of his career high. Guard Lamont Butler also scored 15 points during the victory.

UAB guard Efrem Johnson led the Blazers (23-12) in scoring with 19 points, but was silent in the second half, being held scoreless in the final nine minutes. UAB’s leading scorer, forward Yaxel Lendeborg, fouled out in the closing seconds of the game as he entered foul trouble with LeDee early, finishing the day with 11 points.

The Scarlet and Black saw a 12-point second half slip away before they rallied late in the game on the strength of LeDee to avoid a potential upset within the East Region. The Blazers trailed 44-32 early on in the second half before a 17-5 run sparked the first lead of the game for UAB and an intense final stretch.

“We just didn’t panic,” Butler said. “We have been in that position before where teams came back on us. In the Mountain West, it happens all the time. So we were kind of used to it. We got experience, we didn’t panic and we knew that the game wasn’t over.”

LeDee, who was kept in check for most of the second half, scored on three straight possessions for the Aztecs after UAB took a 56-53 lead. Butler would score after hitting on a difficult fadeaway, and shortly after, LeDee climbed for an offensive rebound while being fouled with 1:01 left. LeDee made both free throws to give San Diego State a 66-63 lead and added two more foul shots with 20 ticks in regulation left.

Johnson attempted a contested shot for a game-tying 3-pointer but fell. Guard Reese Waters made a free throw with three seconds remaining to give SDSU time to breathe.

“Not everybody’s going to win that deserves to win and not everyone’s going to lose who deserves to lose,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “It’s just March Madness and survive and advance. All the cliches you want to say, we found a way to survive the game, came up with timely plays and came out with a victory.”

San Diego State will look to keep dancing when they play No.13 seed Yale in the second round on Sunday.

About the Contributors
Roman Aguilar
Roman Aguilar, '24-25 Sports Editor, '23 -24 Sports Editor
Roman Aguilar (he/him/his) is a second-year journalism major with an emphasis in public relations from Stockton, California. Since he was little, he loved watching sports and being able to tell a good story out of an exciting game matchup. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022 as a contributor and staff writer for the sports section, covering a multitude of sports including football, men's basketball, and water polo, before moving on to sports editor. Aguilar is also a blog writer for KCR College Radio, attending concerts and having the opportunity to cover shows and interview artists. When he isn't writing articles related to music or sports, you can see Roman going to local concert shows on a near-weekly basis and watching his favorite horror movies.
Chinedu Nwoffiah, Photographer
Chinedu Nwoffiah (he/him/his) is a fourth-year Communication major specializing in Digital & Social Media Studies. He has always had a passion for sports and storytelling and has been able to enhance his skills throughout his time at The Daily Aztec. Since joining in 2023, he has covered nearly every sport through photography and contributed as a writer, broadcaster, and multimedia specialist for men’s basketball.