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San Diego State becomes first Mountain West team to reach Sweet 16 since 2018

The Aztecs defeated Furman to by 23 to punch their ticket to the second weekend

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Furman vs San Diego State
Aguek Arop provided a big spark off the bench for San Diego State in 20 minutes of action against Furman.
Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State ran past Furman 75-52 Saturday afternoon becoming the first mid-major program to clinch a bid to the Sweet 16.

For the Aztecs, it is the first time that they’ve made the second weekend since 2014. For the Mountain West, SDSU became the league’s first program to make the Sweet 16 since Nevada did so in 2018.

“We’re focused on the next task,” San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher said. “We’re about winning and we want to continue to win.”

After a rough-and-tough first 10 minutes, the Aztec defense showed they wanted to win. Furman didn’t score a field goal for 10:57 to close out the half, which allowed San Diego State to go on a 15-0 run. The Aztecs led by 14 at the break as their significant size advantage and strong 3-point defense padded onto the lead.

When the game ended, those strengths showed on the stat sheet. SDSU outscored the Paladins in the paint 40-16 and held the Paladins to 6-for-26 (23.1%) from 3-point range.

“We have the ability to play a center like a guard,” Dutcher said. “We just felt playing Furman, we were going against five guards.”

San Diego State led by as many as 26 in the second half as four Aztecs scored double-digits. Micah Parrish led the way with 16 points off the bench.

The Aztecs will play the winner of Alabama-Maryland on Friday night in Louisville.

What might seem like a daunting task, SDSU is prepared. They played 10 Quadrant One opponents in the regular season.

“For me, playing the top teams is what I want to do,” said Lamont Butler, who was one of four Aztecs in double figures with 12 points. “I came here to compete, and I feel like we can compete with any team in the country. It’s about ourselves. If we focus on ourselves, we can beat anybody.”

They’ll find out their next opponent by the end of the evening.