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San Diego State advances to Round of 32 following 69-65 win over UAB

Aztecs hit free throws late to secure victory.
Jaedon LeDee
Posted at 1:04 PM, Mar 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 20:40:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In their return to the NCAA Tournament following the program's first-ever Final Four run, the San Diego State Aztecs defeated the University of Alabama at Birmingham 69-65 in the 2024 tourney's Round of 64.

Jaedon LeDee lived up to his first-team All-Mountain West and third-team All-American status as he led all scorers with 32 points. LeDee went deep into his bag early, scoring 18 points in the first half as he showed off a varied skill set: banging down low on the block, graceful touch around the rim and a clean stroke from the midrange.

The Aztecs went into halftime with a 35-29 lead and eventually extended that lead to double digits thanks to a Darrion Trammell three-pointer; however, the Blazers didn't back down.

UAB found their stroke from deep to claw back, taking their first lead of the game around the 9:45 mark of the second half.

The Aztecs went back to the reliable LeDee to regain the lead with under five minutes, but the remainder of the game was a back-and-forth affair.

With two minutes left, Final Four hero Lamont Butler hit two free throws to give SDSU a 64-62 lead in crunch time. UAB was also in the double bonus at this point, and they went 1/2 from the line on the ensuing possession.

Aztec fans saw the season flash before their eyes as Trammell nearly turned the ball over as the shock clock ran down, but Micah Parrish managed to put up a shot and LeDee cleaned up on the offensive glass before getting fouled.

With 61 seconds left, the go-to player hit both foul shots, giving SDSU a 66-63 lead. Once they got down the court, UAB missed a three and a follow up attempt, but LeDee was called for a foul down low. The Blazers hit both foul shots.

On the next possession, LeDee got fouled as he was fed inside with 20.1 seconds left. Lendeborg of UAB fouled out on the play, joining his teammate, Davis, on the bench. SDSU's big man did a phenomenal job of drawing fouls throughout the game.

LeDee made both shots to give SDSU a 3-point lead. As UAB had a chance to tie, the Blazers put up a poor shot from deep. SDSU came up with the rebound, and the Blazers fouled. The Aztecs went 1/2 from the line, grabbing their own rebound on the second shot with less than 5 seconds left in the contest.

Because of the four-point lead, UAB allowed SDSU to run the clock out and secure the 69-65 victory.

The Aztecs will play the winner of the Auburn-Yale game in their region. That game tips off at 1:33 p.m. PT.