San Diego State reacts to advancing to Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. — For the first time since 2014, the fifth-seeded San Diego State Aztecs will advance to play in the Sweet 16 after defeating No. 13 seed Furman in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Aztecs (29-6, 15-3) trailed the Paladins early in the first half but used a 15-0 run to get out in front. A stout defensive effort sparked their run and the team didn’t look back after taking a 14-point lead into halftime. In all, they led for 32 minutes on Saturday.

They held Furman to just 32% shooting in the contest.

“We hang our hat on defense,” Aztecs head coach Brian Dutcher said. “That’s the one thing that we do every game. Then when we get the opportunity, we start making shots and play good offensively. Then, we’re very good. We’re fortunate to be moving forward. We’re happy and looking forward to playing in the Sweet 16.”

San Diego State believed the game was perhaps its most complete performance of the season. The group shot 50% from the field and held a 22-10 advantage in the paint, and outscored the Paladins’ second unit by 16 points (20-4).

Junior Micah Parrish led the Aztecs with 16 points, six rebounds and one block in 21 minutes of work as four players scored in double figures. Darrion Trammell had 13 points, Lamont Butler added 12 points and six assists and Matt Bradley chipped in 10 points.

Parrish credited his teammates for his performance.

It was really my teammates finding me in transition. We just try to find an open guy. Each game might not be your game but I guess today was mine and my teammates just kept finding me so I just got to thank my teammates.

The win was the Aztecs’ second under Dutcher, who took over the program in 2017. They previously defeated the College of Charleston on Thursday and will now face the winner of the (1) Alabama versus (8) Maryland second-round matchup in the South Regional.

They were happy to leave Orlando in front of a large contingent of fans.

“It was great to see all the San Diego State fans come all the way here to Orlando, Florida, and watch us play and cheer us on,” Parrish said. “That means a lot to me and my teammates. Our families got to come out here and we got to spend a little bit of time with them in the hotel and things like that so that means a lot to us.”

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire