San Diego State knocks off No. 18 Utah State 86-70 in MWC semifinals

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jaedon LeDee scored 22 points and San Diego State beat No. 18 Utah State 86-70 on Friday night to reach the final of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

Lamont Butler added 16 points and Micah Parrish had 15 points for the Aztecs (24-9).

“This team has always had great resolve,” said San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher, who has led the Aztecs to the conference tournament final for seven straight years. “It’s got a great grit about it. And we got down 17 in the first half. We don’t panic. We just fight our way. Fight, fight, fight, and we caught a break."

San Diego State will play New Mexico in Saturday's championship game. The Lobos beat Colorado State 74-61 in the other semifinal.

Great Osobor led the top-seeded Aggies (27-6) with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Ian Martinez scored 16 points and Isaac Johnson added 11.

”They were the tougher team, the more physical team,” said Utah State coach Danny Sprinkle. “They kind of brought the fight, and we didn’t respond at times. That’s what San Diego State does to people. You have to punch back, and I thought we did early. We had some careless fouls. Great picking up his second. He’s too good of a player to pick up a foul like that, and that changed the game. I think they outscored us by 14 the last six and a half minutes of that first half, but it was toughness plays.”

San Diego State, the No. 5 seed, trailed by 17 in the first half but built a 69-56 lead with 8:12 left in the game led by LeDee, who scored 13 of his points during that span.

Both LeDee and Osobor were in foul trouble midway through the second half. Osobor picked up his third foul with 13:21 and sat out almost three minutes. LeDee picked up a third foul with 8:51, but stayed in the game.

Osobor made one of two free throws to cut the Aztecs’ lead to seven, but LeDee made two free throws and Butler added another to build the lead back to 10.

LeDee fouled out with 2:03 but the Aggies never got closer than eight points.

“Every time we have close games we have to get over the hump,” Parrish said. “This past recent couple of weeks, we haven’t been able to get over the hump. So it’s nice to finally get over the hump again and know what it feels like to finish games. That’s going to help us in the future.”

For the second straight game in the tournament, Darrion Trammell hit a 3-pointer as the first half ended to cut the Aggies’ lead to 39-36 at halftime.

Utah State led 34-17 when Osobor left the game with 6:22 left in the half. At that time, the MWC Player of the Year had 11 points. San Diego State immediately went on a seven-point run, sparked by a dunk by LeDee.

LeDee, who scored 34 points on Thursday against UNLV, played only eight minutes in the first half and scored five points.

BIG PICTURE

SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs had only five points off the bench on Thursday against UNLV, but had five in the first half against Utah State. Reese Waters scored 11 points off the bench against Utah State.

UTAH STATE: The Aggies, under first-year coach Danny Sprinkle, finished as regular-season champions and will wait until Sunday to find out their NCAA Tournament fate.

UP NEXT

San Diego State plays New Mexico in the championship game on Saturday.

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