San Diego State had little trouble ending the streak of Fuhrman’s favorite March Madness, getting 16 points from Mick Parrish to speed up a balanced scoring offense and pulling away from Saturday’s 75-52 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament .
Darrion Trammell scored 13 points, Lamont Butler added 12, and top scorer Matt Bradley finished with 10 points for San Diego State (29-6), heading to their first Sweet 16 since 2014.
The fifth-place Aztecs have won 11 of their last 13 games and will play overall No. 1 Alabama next week in the South Region Semifinals in Louisville, Kentucky.
“You have to show your best result at the end of the season, and we show the best basketball at the end of the season,” said coach Brian Dutcher.
“Obviously we hang our hats on the defense. It’s the only thing we do in every game,” Dutcher added. “Then, when we get the opportunity, we start shooting and playing good offensively, then we’re very good.”
San Diego State is the first Mountain West conference team to reach the Sweet 16 since Nevada in 2018. This will be the third Regional Semi-Final for the Aztecs and the seventh for Mountain West overall.
Two days after he shrugged off cold throws and closed a 12-point gap in the second half to shock 4th seed Virginia 68-67 with a JP Pegues three-point shot, Fuhrman was stronger and gradually worn down by much stronger opponents. . physical Aztecs.
The paladins believe that they have still demonstrated their affiliation with the March Madness.
“I wish we played better. I wish we could shoot the ball a little better. But in some of them you have to give credit (San Diego State). But nothing will change what this group did,” said coach Bob Ritchie.
“This is an incredible story and I am very proud of our team at a time when I am extremely disappointed that we have not moved forward,” Richie added. “But it’s very hard not to push the lens back a bit and still see what this group has been able to achieve.”
San Diego State led 39–25 in the first half, getting 14 points off the bench from Parrish and limiting Fuhrman to one field goal in the final 11 minutes before halftime.
The Aztecs took control during a 15-0 run that turned a two-point gap into a 30-17 lead. Furman missed seven straight shots and turned over four times during a 9:56 field goal drought that resulted in ” Paladins found themselves in a big halftime break.
Southern Conference player and of the year Jalen Slawson committed his fourth foul with 16:27 left and fouled shortly after returning midway through the second half. The super-senior stomped the floor in desperation, drawing a technical foul that gave San Diego State a pair of free throws, giving the Aztecs a 60–37 lead.
Mike Bothwell led the 13th overall (28-8) Paladins with 15 points. Alex Williams had 11 shots and Peges had 11, and Fuhrman shot 32%, including 6 of 26 from three-point range.
Like Slawson, Bothwell is a super senior who returned to Furman for a fifth season after the Paladins were denied an automatic berth in the Southern Conference NCAA Tournament due to a buzzer on their league championship game.
The creation of the field this year and then Furman’s first tournament victory in 49 years left memories that will last a lifetime.
“That’s something no one can take away from this team,” Bothwell said. “The greatest team in the history of the school. No one has won more games than us and we loved it. That’s the best part about her.”
The big picture
Furman: The Paladins have lost Slawson and Bothwell, but feel they have set the tone for continued success.
“Sometimes success can make you complacent, and I think the challenge for us going forward is to understand that this should make us hungrier,” Ritchie said. “It should push us every day to want to come back here and keep showing that we belong in the NCAA Tournament.”
San Diego State: The Aztecs are 0-2 in the Sweet 16 games. Dutcher thinks this team can go further.
“Now that we’ve got into the rhythm and we know what it’s about, I think we’ll play better as we move forward,” the coach said. “And it’s really encouraging to move to Sweet 16.”