SAN DIEGO (AP)Jaedon LeDee scored 14 points and Matt Bradley scored 10 of his 13 in the first four minutes of the second half for No. 22 San Diego State, which overwhelmed Colorado State 77-58 Tuesday night for its fifth straight win.
Bradley, SDSU’s leading scorer, was whacked on top of the left hand taking a shot and was subbed out during a timeout with 7:47 left and the Aztecs leading 69-48. He returned with 4:55 to go but didn’t play the final two minutes.
”I didn’t want to risk playing him any more with the lead we had so I pulled him out,” said coach Brian Dutcher, who added that Bradley had a knot on his hand.
Micah Parrish added 12 and Lamont Butler and Darrion Trammell had 11 each for SDSU (22-5, 13-2 Mountain West), which solidified its lead in the conference race. The Aztecs have won nine of their last 10 games dating to an 82-76 overtime win at Colorado State on Jan. 18.
John Tonje scored 18 and Isaiah Rivera 15 for the Rams (12-16, 4-11), who have lost seven of nine.
”That was a good, hard-fought win and I was nervous about it,” Dutcher said. ”They’re very dangerous offensively. I still have memories of Tonje hitting a corner 3 on Jordan Schakel to win the game against us not so many years ago here. If you don’t learn from the past you can repeat it and we were ready to play.”
The Aztecs forced 16 turnovers and held The Rams to just 3 3-pointers, on 14 attempts. They made 11 of 29 in the first game between the teams this year.
”I think our defensive pressure caused some issues,” Dutcher said. ”I just feel like we’re a hard team to beat if you don’t make a lot of 3s because we’re hard to score on around the basket. Tough twos are a hard way to win a game in the half court. I’m proud of our effort and I think we’re getting better. That’s the key to Aztec basketball.”
The Aztecs used their trademark tough defense to take a 41-26 lead at halftime, when Bradley had just three points. But the senior guard got hot right away in the second half, hitting a 3-pointer, a jumper, a layup and another 3-pointer that gave the Aztecs a 52-32 lead and forced the Rams to call time out.
Bradley’s only points in the first half came in a 3-point play less than four minutes in. Lamont Butler also converted a 3-point play and Darrion Trammell hit a 3-pointer to help the Aztecs start to pull away.
But it was the Aztecs’ defense that stood out. They forced a shot-clock violation and a 10-second violation early on, and the Rams had 10 turnovers in the first half.
Colorado State: The Rams were coming off a thrilling finish at Fresno State, when they outscored the Bulldogs 12-2 in the final 1:30 to win 60-57. The Aztecs scored only 45 points in beating the Bulldogs by two points three nights earlier.
San Diego State: The Aztecs have beaten the Rams 10 times in the last 12 games overall and 10 of the last 12 times at Viejas Arena. … Fifth-year senior guard Adam Seiko has 110 career wins, the most in program history.
Colorado State hosts Wyoming on Friday night.
San Diego State is at New Mexico on Saturday night. The Lobos won 76-67 in San Diego on Jan. 14.
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