San Diego State will always have a choke defense. The question is whether they will hit the ball well. When they do this, they can defeat almost anyone in the country.
Furman saw it with his own eyes on Saturday.
The Aztecs thrashed the Paladins 75-52 to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history and the first time since 2014. They did so by upsetting another high-scoring team. In the opener, the Aztecs beat the College of Charleston, a team that averaged 80 points per game, to 57 points. On Saturday they were even better against another high school from South Carolina.
Furman entered the game averaging 82 points per game, making them the 9th highest scoring team in the country. But the Southern Conference has never seen a team that defends like the SDSU.
The Paladins took a free throw and took a 17-15 lead. They didn’t score a single point for the next seven minutes as the Aztecs built the series 15-0 and once they took control they didn’t let it go. Furman went almost 11 minutes without a field goal, scoring the only points from the free throw line and watching the Aztecs lead 39–25 at half-time. Junior Micah Parrish played a huge role in that success, scoring 14 points in the first half.
It was just an appetizer.
After the break, Darrion Trammell fired up with a three-pointer. Fellow senior Adam Seiko made an easy to extend the lead to 21. Senior center Nathan Mensah made a hard reverse layup with 6:35 to play to extend the lead to 67-44. The game got so out of hand that head coach Brian Dutcher was able to clear his bench for the last minute, giving passers-by some well-deserved playing time in March Madness.
That’s all the Aztecs have ever received in the NCAA Tournament. To make it to their first Elite Eight, they’ll have to beat the winner of Maryland vs. Alabama in next week’s Regional Semifinals in Louisville. Win this and SDSU will be just one win away from their first Final Four appearance.