San Diego State looks ahead to a contest with Air Force at 7 p.m. Saturday after gritting their way to a tough overtime win in Colorado.
The team has been increasingly turning to Lamont Butler, now a junior, who scored a team-high 19 points in the win at Colorado State as the Rams made the Aztecs (14-4, 5-1 Mountain West) work for their 82-76 victory.
At times this season, when Matt Bradley has an off night, as he did for most of Wednesday’s game, an Aztec has stepped up, whether it’s Butler or Darrion Trammell.
Butler told San Diego Sports 760 of his work in the summer to improve his game, which has helped him try “to stay ready, just play as hard as I can and affect the game in as many ways as I can.”
Air Force, (12-7, 3-3 MW) winners of three in a row, is led by Jake Heidbreder, who is averaging 14.4 points a game. The academy also logged a recent win over Colorado State (10-10, 2-5 MW), a team that proved challenging for SDSU Wednesday.
With Bradley scoreless in the opening half, Butler led SDSU with seven points, but the team trailed going into the break, 34-28.
San Diego State didn’t regain the lead until well into the second half, as Micah Parrish hit a three for a 44-43 advantage. Colorado State jumped ahead again, until SDSU went up by one, thanks again to a Parrish bucket and free throw with 4:59 remaining.
The lead grew to six, but the Rams clawed back to tie the game with five seconds left in regulation, leaving the Aztecs to face overtime with the momentum going against them.
Yet quickly Bradley sank two foul shots and then San Diego State made back-to-back threes – Parrish nailed his third of the game and Butler sank his second for a 75-70 lead with three minutes to play. SDSU led the whole way in OT.
Parrish had 15 points, while Bradley heated up late and finished with 14.
Head coach Brian Dutcher described the win to Sports 760 as a “great, gutty effort.”
“In the overtime, we were just shot ready,” he said. “When we created shots for guys, they rose up and knocked them down in pressure situations.”