Aztecs Dominate Saint Mary’s in Continental Tire Main Event Opener
In a thrilling matchup between two ranked teams, the San Diego State Aztecs emerged victorious over the Saint Mary’s Gaels in the opening round of the Continental Tire Main Event. The Aztecs’ impressive performance propelled them from 31st to 15th in the Kenpom metric, showcasing their dominance on the court.
The Gaels, who were picked to win the West Coast Conference ahead of Gonzaga, had previously defeated New Mexico by 14 points at home. However, they underestimated the Aztecs’ prowess in Las Vegas, where they have a remarkable record at the Thomas & Mack Center. With 45 wins in the last 15 years at the venue, the Aztecs have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Sin City.
The game against Saint Mary’s was no exception. Despite the Gaels’ strong defensive statistics this season, the Aztecs managed to break through their defense and secure a convincing victory. The game was closely contested, with six ties and eight lead changes. The Gaels even held a six-point lead late in the first half and maintained their advantage for the first 16 minutes of the second half.
However, the Aztecs’ relentless pressure eventually wore down the Gaels. Led by Jaedon LeDee, who scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds, the Aztecs showcased their offensive firepower. Reese Waters contributed 19 points on efficient shooting, while Micah Parrish and Lamont Butler made significant contributions on both ends of the court.
Defensively, the Aztecs stifled Saint Mary’s leading scorer Aidan Mahaney, holding him to just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. The Gaels struggled to find their rhythm offensively, shooting only 34.4 percent from the field and being outrebounded by the Aztecs.
The turning point in the game came when the Aztecs managed to get Saint Mary’s big men in foul trouble. Mitchell Saxen and Joshua Jefferson, who had dominated the paint in the first half, were limited to just two baskets in the second half. This allowed the Aztecs to build a substantial lead and ultimately secure the victory.
The win against Saint Mary’s adds to the Aztecs’ impressive record in Las Vegas, where they have now won 14 of their last 15 games. Their success can be attributed to their ability to wear down opponents and execute their game plan effectively.
Looking ahead, the Aztecs will face Washington in the final of the Continental Tire Main Event. Washington, who defeated Xavier 74-71 in the late game on Friday, will pose another tough challenge for the Aztecs. However, with their recent form and confidence, the Aztecs are poised to continue their winning streak in Las Vegas.
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San Diego State Dominates Saint Mary’s in Continental Tire Main Event
Aztecs Outclass Gaels in Impressive Victory
LAS VEGAS — In a stunning display of dominance, the San Diego State Aztecs outplayed and outmatched the Saint Mary’s Gaels in the opening round of the Continental Tire Main Event. The Aztecs’ victory catapulted them from 31st to 15th in the Kenpom metric, solidifying their position as a force to be reckoned with in college basketball.
The game, held at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, showcased the Aztecs’ toughness and skill as they cruised to a resounding 79-54 win over the Gaels. The victory was even more impressive considering both teams were ranked in the Associated Press preseason Top 25.
San Diego State’s relentless performance on the court left no doubt about their superiority. They outplayed the Gaels in every aspect of the game, shooting at a high percentage and displaying exceptional defensive prowess. The Aztecs’ tenacity and physicality overwhelmed Saint Mary’s, leaving them unable to mount a comeback.
Leading the charge for San Diego State was Jaedon LeDee, who scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds. LeDee’s exceptional performance earned him recognition as one of the top Division I players in the country. However, it wasn’t just LeDee who shone for the Aztecs. Reese Waters contributed 19 points, Micah Parrish had 11 points, and Lamont Butler held Saint Mary’s leading scorer Aidan Mahaney to a mere nine points.
The Aztecs’ victory was a testament to their strong record in Las Vegas. With a 14-1 record in their last 15 games in the city, San Diego State has established themselves as a dominant force in the Thomas & Mack Center and other nonconference events held across Las Vegas.
Coach Dutch Dutcher’s strategic decision to play Saint Mary’s bigs straight up instead of double-teaming them paid off. The Aztecs’ defense effectively neutralized the Gaels’ inside presence, forcing them to rely on outside shooting. The Gaels struggled to find their rhythm, shooting a mere 34.4 percent from the field.
As the game progressed, San Diego State’s relentless defensive pressure wore down Saint Mary’s, resulting in a 45-21 blitz in the second half. The Gaels’ inability to score consistently allowed the Aztecs to build a substantial lead and secure a convincing victory.
The Aztecs’ impressive performance sets up a highly anticipated final against Washington on Sunday night. San Diego State’s relentless style of play and their ability to wear down opponents make them a formidable contender in the Continental Tire Main Event.
With their victory over Saint Mary’s, the Aztecs have sent a clear message to the college basketball world: they are a force to be reckoned with and a team capable of making a deep run in the upcoming season.