HomeSportsMarch Madness: San Diego State holds off Charleston, ending Mountain West's long...

March Madness: San Diego State holds off Charleston, ending Mountain West’s long NCAA tournament losing streak

The Mountain West’s NCAA tournament losing streak has finally come to an end.

San Diego State, the No. 5 seed in the South Region, beat No. 12 seed College of Charleston in a defensive clash in the first round on Thursday in Orlando.

In a 63–57 victory, the Aztecs limited the Cougars to only 32.1% shooting from the field and made enough plays down the stretch to advance to the Round of 32. With the win, San Diego State snapped a 10-game losing streak. streak for the Mountain West that dated back to a 2018 loss to Nevada in the Sweet 16.

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It hasn’t been easy.

San Diego State’s lead was only three points over Colonial Athletic Association champion Charleston, who entered the NCAA tournament with a 31–3 record. SDSU had a three-point lead at halftime which grew to nine points during the second half.

Despite their offensive struggles, Charleston took the lead and managed to tie the score at 53–53 with 3:27 remaining. But San Diego State responded. Matt Bradley put the Aztecs back up two with a driving layup, and then Micah Parish followed with a 3-pointer.

From there, Charleston would twice cut the deficit to three points, but could never get out of the hump. San Diego State’s defense was too much to overcome as Charleston was limited to just 5-of-24 on 3-point shots.

The Aztecs weren’t much better offensively, but used their size advantage to connect on 50% of their two-point shots. Bradley led with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Keshad Johnson, Aguek Arop and Jaden Leddy scored eight points each.

While the Cougars’ remarkable season ends with a first-round exit, San Diego State will move on to face No. 13 seed Furman, which upset No. 4 seed Virginia earlier Thursday.

For SDSU, this is the program’s first NCAA tournament win since 2015. Brian Dutcher took over for Steve Fisher after the 2017 season, but the Aztecs went 0–3 at first under Dutcher’s watch.

Now that skid — along with the Mountain West — is over.

San Diego State guard Matt Bradley (20) meets Charleston guard Jaylon Scott (21) during the first half of a first round college basketball game in the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 16, 2023 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)



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