Furman Paladins vs. San Diego St. Aztecs Pick & Prediction MARCH 18th 2023

Stadium: Amway Center Orlando
Logo Furman Paladins
Logo San Diego St. Aztecs

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Furman seeks to turn a No. 13 seed into its first berth in the Sweet 16 when it faces fifth-seeded San Diego State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's South Region on Saturday in Orlando, Fla.

Furman (28-7), playing in its first NCAA Tournament in 43 years, knocked off fourth-seeded Virginia when JP Pegues' 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left lifted the Paladins to a 68-67 victory Thursday. It was Furman's second NCAA Tournament win and first since 1974.

San Diego State (28-6) held on to beat 12th-seeded College of Charleston 63-57 after the Cougars rallied from a nine-point deficit to tie the game at 53-all with 3:27 left on Thursday.

Furman and San Diego State are playing to face the winner of top-seeded Alabama and eighth-seeded Maryland in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Louisville, Ky.

The Paladins' school-record 28th win of the season was as dramatic as it gets.

Trailing 67-63 with 19 seconds left, Furman's Garrett Hein sank a pair of free throws to cut the margin to two with 12 seconds to go.

But Virginia's Kihei Clark, trapped near the Cavaliers' baseline, launched a deep pass that Hein intercepted. He found Pegues wide open on the right wing for what proved to be the game-winning shot after Virginia's Reece Beekman's long 3-pointer bounced off the backboard as time expired.

"Coach (Bob) Richey talked to us last night after we got back from dinner, and he was saying he didn't want us to forget about this moment," said Furman guard Mike Bothwell, who averages a team-high 17.8 points per game after scoring 11 against Virginia. "We'll have that moment for the rest of our lives, (but we can't) hold on to it too long where we can't focus on the next task ahead and miss out on the next opportunity."

Jalen Slawson had 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while Marcus Foster added 14 points. Pegues and Bothwell finished with 11 points apiece for Furman. The Paladins have won 15 of their last 16 games.

The Aztecs' first-round win was less suspenseful.

After the College of Charleston tied the game at 53-53 with 3:27 left, Matt Bradley made a layup and Micah Parrish followed with a 3-pointer for a 58-53 lead with 1:45 to go.

Bradley was fouled on a 3-pointer and made two free throws to make it 60-55 with 25 seconds left before Adam Seiko and Parrish secured the win at the free-throw line.

"We're going to use it as motivation to come out here and win every game that we can, especially close games," San Diego State guard Lamont Butler said. "We take pride in taking care of the ball and just concentrating in the close games like that. We've got a lot of guys that can make big plays, so we're just going to keep doing that and keep winning."

Bradley scored 17 points, while Keshad Johnson, Jaedon LeDee and Aguek Arop scored eight points apiece for San Diego State, which is a win away from its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2014. The Aztecs lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in each of their three previous appearances.

Bradley averages a team-high 13.1 points per game, while Darrion Trammell chips in 9.4 points and a team-high 3.3 assists per game. Butler averages 8.5 points per game, with Nathan Mensah averaging a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game to go along with 6.1 points per game.

--Field Level Media

Furman Paladins
San Diego St. Aztecs

Furman Paladins vs. San Diego St. Aztecs Recap MAR 18TH 2023

Micah Parrish had 16 points and six rebounds to lead fifth-seeded San Diego State to a 75-52 victory over 13th-seeded Furman in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's South Region on Saturday at Orlando, Fla.

Lamont Butler added 12 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Aztecs (29-6), who advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014. They'll face top-seeded Alabama (30-5) or eighth-seeded Maryland (22-12) on Friday at Louisville, Ky.

Darrion Trammell chipped in 13 points and Matt Bradley finished with 10 points for the Mountain West regular-season and tournament champion Aztecs, who have won six straight games. Nathan Mensah had six points and nine rebounds.

The Aztecs shot an impressive 29 of 58 (50 percent) from the field, including 6 of 20 (30 percent) from 3-point range. San Diego State outrebounded the Paladins 41-24.

Playing in its first NCAA Tournament in 43 years, Furman ended the winningest season in program history at 28-8. The Paladins earned just their second NCAA Tournament win ever and first since 1974 in Thursday's first-round upset of fourth-seeded Virginia.

Against San Diego State, Mike Bothwell scored 15 points for Furman, which ended its season by winning 15 of its last 17 games. Alex Williams had 11 points and JP Pegues finished with 10 for the Paladins.

The Paladins shot 16 of 50 (32 percent) from the field, including 6 of 26 (23.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

Leading by 14 at halftime, San Diego State put the game away by opening the second half on a 12-5 run to take a 51-30 lead following Adam Seiko's layup with 14:12 left.

After Furman took a 16-12 lead on Jalen Slawson's 3-pointer with 11:17 left in the first half, the Aztecs took control of the game. San Diego State allowed the Paladins to make just one field goal the rest of the half and used an 18-1 run to take a 30-17 advantage following Parrish's layup with 4:48 remaining.

Parrish scored 12 points and Bradley had seven in the first 20 minutes for San Diego State.

Furman was led by Slawson's eight first-half points, while Bothwell added seven.

--Field Level Media