Mountain West’s NCAA Tournament losing streak is finally over.
San Diego State, the No. 5 seed in the South Region, knocked out No. 12 seed College of Charleston in a first-round defensive struggle Thursday in Orlando.
In a 63-57 win, the Aztecs limited the Cougars to just 32.1 percent shooting from the field and made just enough plays to advance to the knockout stages. With this win, San Diego State lost 10 games. streak for Mountain West that dates back to Nevada’s loss in the Sweet 16 in 2018.
[Free $25K best bracket contest for women’s tourney | Printable bracket]
This has not been easy.
San Diego State’s lead was just three points at halftime over Charleston, the Colonial Athletic Association champions who entered the NCAA Tournament with a 31-3 record. SDSU had a three-point halftime lead that grew to nine points during the second half.
Despite their offensive struggles, Charleston lost their lead and managed to even the score at 53-53 with 3:27 remaining. But San Diego State responded. Matt Bradley put the Aztecs up two with a drive-thru layup, then Micah Parrish followed it up with a 3-pointer.
From there, Charleston would twice cut the three-point deficit in the final minute, but could never quite get over the bump. The Cougars had a chance to get the ball back as they led 58-55, but Jaylon Scott fouled Bradley as he attempted a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left as the shot clock ticked down . Bradley hit two of three free throws to put the Aztecs back by two possessions.
On the next possession, Charleston cut it to 60-57 with a layup. But it was too late. SDSU’s Adam Seiko would add a clutch free throw to finally seal the victory.
Charleston was limited to just 5 of 24 on 3-point shots while the Aztecs used their height advantage to connect on 50% of their two-point shots. Bradley led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds while Keshad Johnson, Aguek Arop and Jaedon LeDee threw eight points apiece.
As the Cougars’ remarkable season ends with a first-round outing, San Diego State will face Furman, the No. 13 seed who upset No. 4 seed Virginia earlier Thursday.
For SDSU, it’s the program’s first NCAA tournament victory since 2015. Brian Dutcher took over from Steve Fisher after the 2017 season, but the Aztecs were previously 0-3 under Dutcher.
Now that skid — along with Mountain West’s — is over.
Mountain West’s NCAA Tournament losing streak has been snapped
Prior to Thursday, it had been nearly five years since a Mountain West team had won an NCAA tournament game.
Nevada was eliminated in the top four by Arizona State on Wednesday night, allowing that MWC losing streak to reach 10 straight tournament games. Prior to that, the Mountain West went 0-4 in 2022, 0-2 in 2021 and 0-2 in 2019.
Nevada had a run to the Sweet 16 in 2018, but the Wolf Pack’s Sweet 16 loss to Loyola Chicago ended up being the first of 10 straight losses for the conference. Nevada’s second-round win over Cincinnati on March 18, 2018 was the conference’s most recent tournament win before San Diego State ended the streak on Thursday.
Insignificant foul results in bad beat for Charleston bettors
Charleston was a fairly popular underdog for bettors prior to the tournament. Depending on when and where you placed your bet, San Diego State closed as a 5 or 5.5 point favorite.
With that in mind, the foul that was called with 0.7 seconds left and San Diego State leading 61-57 was highly significant to some.
The foul had absolutely no impact on the outcome of the match. But when Parrish calmly sank two free throws to give San Diego State a 63-57 win, it was either miracle coverage for SDSU fans or a horrible bad beat if you picked the Cougars to stay in. the number.
#March #Madness #San #Diego #State #holds #Charleston #Mountain #Wests #long #NCAA #Tournament #losing #streak