The San Diegro State Aztecs have done something no Mountain West team has done before. They made it to the Elite 8. (Yes, we know UNLV won a championship a long time ago, but they weren’t in the Mountain West when it happened, so it doesn’t count for this purpose.)
The Aztecs made it to the Elite 8 by defeating the top seeded team in the nation in the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama had done enough during the season to earn the top seed in the tournament and were ranked second in the nation in KenPom.
Due to those facts, all the experts predicted Alabama would win the game, many of them predicting a double-digit win. To be fair, it was a rational take. That makes the victory so much sweeter for the Aztecs though.
It was a back and forth game, with a lot of ties and a lot of lead changes. The Aztecs took an early 6-3 lead in the game, but things looked grim when Matt Bradley got his second foul early and Alabama took a 19-16 lead of their own. Despite that, the Aztecs led at the half 28-23 behind a monster defensive performance.
The Crimson Tide quickly erased that lead to start the second half, and had a 9 point lead with about 12 minutes left in the game. Darrion Trammell decided enough was enough though. He hit a three coming off of a screen, and then jumped a passing lane to get a steal and finish with a layup. Two plays leter he hit another three as the defense went under a Nathan Mensah screen. The Aztecs ended up going on a 16-2 run with Trammell scoring 12 points during the stretch.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 25, 2023
Despite getting very little scoring production from guys like Bradley or Parrisn, the Aztecs were winning. Bradley was able to turn things on late and hit a couple of
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shots to keep the momentum going, but then Aztec fans got flashbacks as Alabama cut the lead down to 2 with 47 seconds left. It seemed like the Aztecs were about to give away another game late.
That didn’t happen though. Alabama didn’t score another point, Bradley was able to break the press by dribbling through a triple team, and Bradley and Parrish shot a combined 5-6 from the free throw line to close out the game.
Trammell finished with 21 points and 5 rebounds. LeDee has 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Alabama was held to it’s third lowest scoring total all season. Likely top-3 NBA draft pick Brandon Miller was held to 16% shooting from the floor, scoring only 9 points on 19 shots.
Next up for the Aztecs is a rematch against the team that beat the Aztecs in the round of 64 last season despite being down 9 points with 3 minutes left in the Creighton Blue Jays, who advance to the Elite 8 after beating Princeton 86-75.
The winner goes to the Final Four.
— San Diego State Men's Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) March 25, 2023