Photo Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
No. 5 San Diego State makes first Final Four, beats Creighton 57-56
Darrion Trammell made a tiebreaking free throw with 1.2 seconds remaining and San Diego State is heading to the Final Four for the first time in school history after recording a 57-56 victory over Creighton on Sunday in the South Region final in Louisville, Ky.
Lamont Butler scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Trammell added 12 points as the fifth-seeded Aztecs (31-6) followed their Friday takedown of No. 1 seed Alabama with their eighth straight victory.
Trammell was fouled by Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard while shooting a floater. He missed the first attempt at the line but made the second to give San Diego State the lead, and the Bluejays’ long last-ditch pass downcourt didn’t result in a shot.
Ryan Kalkbrenner had 17 points for sixth-seeded Creighton (24-13), which also was vying for its first Final Four appearance. Arthur Kaluma and Baylor Scheierman added 12 points apiece for the Bluejays.
San Diego State will face ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic (35-3) on Saturday in the Final Four in Houston.
Nathan Mensah sank a 14-foot jumper to give the Aztecs a 56-54 lead with 1:36 left.
San Diego State later was inbounding the ball from the side in its backcourt with 34.2 seconds left. Adam Seiko’s lob for Micah Parrish was errant, and Scheierman intercepted it and laid the ball in to knot the score at 56 with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Trammell later made the biggest free throw in San Diego State history.
Creighton shot 40% from the field, including a porous 2-of-17 from 3-point range.
The Aztecs made 37.9% of their attempts and were 3-of-13 from behind the arc.
San Diego State missed 20-of-25 field-goal attempts over the first 12-plus minutes of the second half before staging its rally.
With the Aztecs trailing by four, Keshad Johnson converted a three-point play with 7:09 left, and Trammell made a floater 24 seconds later as San Diego State took a 46-45 edge.
Creighton pushed back to tie the score at 46, 48, and 50.
Aguek Arop scored back-to-back baskets in a 55-second span to give the Aztecs a 54-50 edge with 3:04 remaining. Kalkbrenner then scored two inside hoops as the Bluejays tied it at 54 with two minutes left.
Kalkbrenner scored 10 first-half points as Creighton led 33-28 at the break.
The Aztecs scored the first six points of the second half to lead 34-33 on Butler’s driving layup.
Creighton responded with eight straight points, with Kalkbrenner’s hard slam and ensuing free throw capping the run to give the Bluejays a seven-point advantage with 13:14 remaining.
–Field Level Media