Saturday, June 3, 2023

San Diego State defeats Florida Atlantic on Lamont Butler buzzer-beater to reach title game

Lamont Butler hit a bounce shot on the buzzer, sending San Diego State to its first nationwide championship recreation with a 72-71 win over fellow mid-major Florida Atlantic within the Final Four on Saturday evening.

The Aztecs (32-6) seemed to be in bother because the free-flowing Owls (35-4) picked them aside whereas constructing a 14-point second-half lead.

San Diego State acquired again in it, because it at all times does, with protection.

The Aztecs shut down FAU and pulled inside one when Jaedon LeDee hit a brief jumper with 36 seconds left. After FAU’s Johnell Davis missed a contested layup, the Aztecs did not name timeout and acquired the ball to Butler.

The clock ticking down, Butler dribbled to the baseline, discovered that lower off and circled again. He stepped again to create somewhat room and hit a jumper that despatched the Aztecs racing out onto the ground — and into Monday’s championship recreation towards UConn or Miami.

“The plan was just to get downhill,” Butler stated after the sport. “They cut me off a little bit. I looked up and there was two seconds left, so I got to a shot that I’m comfortable with, and I hit it. I’m happy.”

The Aztecs had one timeout left once they acquired the ball on that closing possession, however head coach Brian Dutcher stated he had “ran out of plays, so I decided not to take a timeout.”

San Diego State’s 14-point second-half comeback was the third-largest in Final Four historical past, in accordance with CBS Sports

Florida Atlantic v San Diego State
Lamont Butler, No. 5, of the San Diego State Aztecs celebrates with teammates after profitable the sport towards the Florida Atlantic Owls in the course of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four at NRG Stadium on April 1, 2023, in Houston, Texas.

Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos by way of Getty Images

San Diego State’s protection has performed a key position in its run to the ultimate. It clamped down on 4 straight opponents to open the NCAA Tournament.

The Aztecs had no reply for the swaggy Owls within the first half, permitting them to hit 5 of 11 from 3-point vary to construct a 40-33 halftime lead. 

FAU stretched the result in 14 halfway by means of the second half.

Then the Aztecs acquired gritty.

Contesting almost each shot and cross whereas knocking down a string of offensive rebounds, San Diego State rallied right into a tie at 65. Matt Bradley led the offense within the second half and completed with 21 factors after struggling together with his shot within the earlier three video games.

Alijah Martin saved FAU in it, scoring 19 of his 26 factors within the second half, seeming to have a solution for each Aztecs transfer.

He did not get an opportunity for a closing one.

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