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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Aztecs to No. 17 in AP Poll; No. 19 in Coaches Poll

San Diego State University men’s basketball moved up two spots in AP poll and one in the Coaches poll this week.
By GoAztecs

Opening the 2022-23 season with wins over Cal State Fullerton and Brigham Young, San Diego State's men's basketball team moved up two spots, to No. 17, in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and one spot in the USA Today Coaches Poll to No. 19. The Aztecs netted 524 points in the AP poll and garnered 222 points in the Coaches Poll and is the only Mountain West school ranked in either poll.


The team's two-spot jump in the AP is the third-largest move inside the poll this week. It also marks the 90th-week SDSU has been ranked in the poll since the start of the 2010-11 season, the most of any program in the state of California in that time frame.


SDSU is ranked No. 17 for the fourth time in school history. The Aztecs have appeared in every position in the poll between No. 4 and No. 25, except for No. 12.


The Nov. 14 poll ranking marks the fourth time SDSU has appeared in the AP Top 25 on this date and it is the second-highest ranking for the program on this date.


With a nail-biting win against BYU, the No. 17 Aztecs were able to become the only Mountain West School ranked in either poll. 


On Friday night, Jaedon LaDee scored 23 points and Darrion Trammell added 21 to help No. 19 San Diego State beat rival BYU 82-75. 


San Diego State led by two with 2 minutes left when Trammell hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to almost zero. BYU then responded to get back within two with 83 seconds left.


LaDee sealed the game with a layup that gave the Aztecs a five-point lead.

Spencer Johnson scored 17 points and Rudi Williams added 15 for BYU.

After a lackluster opening half, the Aztecs turned up their offense in the back-and-forth second half but were unable to solve BYU's aggressive defense until the final minutes.


''I don't know if it was poetry, but it was hard-fought basketball,'' said Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher. ''We've worn teams down in the first couple of games. We continue to play hard, even though we don't play great all the time. We just made enough plays to get a win today.''


Added Dutcher, praising the Aztecs' boisterous fans: ''I don't know if we'd have won in Provo. Our crowd kind of motivated us down the stretch and got behind us, and we built on that momentum. If we were in Provo, it might be a whole different story.''

For BYU, San Diego State proved to be ''a different animal'' than Idaho State, the Cougars' season-opening opponent last Monday, reflecting Pope's post-game warning to his team after that tight five-point win.


''It kind of got away from us in the last 10 minutes,'' BYU coach Mark Pope said. ''We lost the battle around the rim. It was really hard for us, then Trammell made a couple of big shots. They're a good team.''


Last Monday, when San Diego State opened its season with a convincing 80-57 win at home over Cal State Fullerton, 16 of its roster players saw action. That wasn't the case against BYU, as Dutcher went with his core starting lineup, with only four subs coming off the bench.


The Aztecs more than lived up to their preseason billing as a Top 20 team, which gave their raucous 2,500-strong student cheering section known as ''The Show'' plenty to cheer and jeer about.


Despite BYU’s loss, the Cougars retain a 50-26 overall advantage against SDSU. A year from now, the two teams are scheduled to meet in a non-conference game after BYU's move to the Big 12, ending 11 seasons in the WCC.


The Aztecs return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Maples Pavilion playing the Stanford Cardinal. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.