SDSU Mountain West
Miles Byrd with a dunk against St. Mary’s on the way to a 79-54 win by SDSU. Photo credit: Screen shot, ESPN+

San Diego State overpowered St. Mary’s in the second half Friday on the way to a 79-54 win at the Continental Tires Main Event tournament in Las Vegas.

The Aztecs again got off to a fast start, but the Gaels stayed close, and with SDSU up 10-8, Alex Ducas and Aidan Mahaney hit back-to-back three pointers – Mahaney’s was off a turnover by Micah Parrish – to give St. Mary’s its first lead.

The Gaels’ advantage grew to six, until with 2:16 left in the half, Parrish grabbed a St. Mary’s turnover to hit a three and cut the deficit to 29-26.

After two free throws by Parrish and a dunk by Miles Byrd, San Diego State took the lead with just over minute to go. The seesaw continued – St. Mary’s went up with 23 seconds left, on free throws by Joshua Jefferson, but Jaedon LeDee, with time ticking down, spun to put back a missed layup by Darrion Trammell.

The second-chance score gave the Aztecs a 34-33 lead at the break. And LeDee wasn’t done.

St. Mary’s would go up by three, but SDSU rode a 11-0 run – eight of them from LeDee – to overtake the Gaels, 49-41.

The Aztecs followed by shutting down their opponent down completely, as the Gaels went cold on 1-for-12 shooting. SDSU, however, remained hot, and with a 21-2 run over the final six minutes, turned what had been a close game into a rout.

LeDee came up huge again, to lead all scorers with 25. Reese Waters followed with 19, while Parrish added 11 as the team shot 52% for the game.

Assistant coach Dave Velasquez credited the team for making adjustments at the break, “responding to coaching and not being sensitive to it.” 

“It got pretty personal in that locker room at half time,” he told San Diego Sports 760, while also crediting Parrish and Miles Heide for their defensive play.

SDSU will play in the tournament title game at 7 p.m. Sunday against Washington, which beat Xavier in the late game Friday.