San Diego State Final Four
San Diego State forward Jaedon LeDee (13) shoots against Creighton forward Arthur Kaluma (24) in the second half of a Elite 8 college basketball game in the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 26, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

San Diego State Edges Out Creighton to Reach Final Four

The No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs are on their way to their first Final Four appearance in school history.

The Aztecs defeated the No. 6 Creighton Bluejays Sunday in Louisville, Kentucky, 57-56 on a last-second free throw by Darrion Trammell. Bluejays guard Ryan Nembhard was called on a controversial foul with one second to go in the game. This gave Trammell the opportunity to break the 56-all tie and continue the Aztecs’ dream run.

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Top Performers

Center Ryan Kalkbrenner led Creighton with 17 points. Arthur Kaluma and Baylor Scheierman recorded 12 points each. San Diego State received 18 points from Lamont Butler and 12 from Trammell. The Bluejays outshot the Aztecs 40% to 38%, but both teams were miserable from beyond the arc. The two teams combined for five triples on 30 attempts.

First Half

Creighton maintained a slim lead in the game’s opening minutes.

Kalkbrenner sunk three shots to keep the Bluejays out in front in the first five minutes. Creigton opened up the deficit midway through the first half when Nembhard soared across the court for a layup.

A three-minute dry spell for Crieghton allowed San Diego State to come back late in the opening half.

Trammell combined forces with Butler and Jaedon LeDee to run off six unanswered points to bring the game to within two, 30-28.

The Bluejays ended the half with a long three from Kaluma to head to the locker room up 33-28.

Second Half

It did not take long for the Aztecs to claim their first lead early in the second half. Butler made a layup two minutes in to give San Diego State a 34-33 advantage. The Bluejays responded with an 8-0 run to go back on top 41-33.

It took six minutes for the Aztecs to get back on their feet. With seven minutes left in the game, San Diego State retook the lead on a Trammell jumper.

The Aztecs held a two-point led until Kalkbrenner evened the score at 54 with a layup at the two-minute mark.

After San Diego State took the lead back, Creighton tied it one more time on a miracle inbound toss.

The Gift

With 1.2 seconds to go, the referees called a foul on Nembhard to send Trammell to the stripe with the game on the line. He drilled the latter of his two shots to give the Aztecs a 57-56 victory.

The Final Four

San Diego State will match up with another team on a Cinderella run, the Florida Atlantic Owls. The game is scheduled for Saturday in Houston’s NRG Stadium. The winner will play either No. 5 Miami or No. 4 UConn in the championship game.

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