Jaedon LeDee was a productive role player on the San Diego State squad that lost in last season’s national championship game.
Now the 6-foot-9 forward has emerged as an offensive force and the type of star player the program craved.
LeDee looks to score more than 20 points for the fifth straight time to open the season when the Aztecs square off with Washington in the championship game of the Continental Tire Main Event on Sunday night in Las Vegas.
LeDee is shooting 61.4 percent from the field while averaging 25 points and nine rebounds. He tallied 25 points on Friday night when San Diego State (3-1) thrashed Saint Mary’s 79-54 to reach the title game.
That marked the third-highest scoring output of the season for the Aztecs, who were known for their tenacious defense during their epic March Madness run a season ago.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who can put the ball in the hole,” LeDee said after Friday’s win. “We get out and run. Like Coach (Brian Dutcher) says, everybody wants to run but only a few teams end up running. We’re really trying to hold him to that. We’re going to keep running.”
Guard Reese Waters, a transfer from Southern California, is also off to a strong start and is averaging 16 points per game. Waters has scored at least 15 points in all four games, including a season-best 19 on 7-of-9 shooting against Saint Mary’s.
Washington (3-1) reached the championship game with a 74-71 victory over Xavier on Friday night.
Keion Brooks Jr. scored 20 points for the Huskies despite 5-of-17 shooting. Sahvir Wheeler added 18 points.
The Huskies shot just 36.4 percent from the field but committed only 10 turnovers while forcing the Musketeers into 18.
“Sometimes shots don’t fall, sometimes foul shots don’t fall, but you got to keep fighting,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said afterward. “We won this game (Friday) because we were tough. We rebounded. We got stops when we had to get stops and that’s why we won.
“That’s why I was so proud of these guys. They kept fighting. It wasn’t perfect, but they just kept fighting.”
Brooks leads the Huskies with averages of 23.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. Wheeler is averaging 16.7 points and 5.7 assists.
Washington has won three of five all-time meetings against San Diego State. The Aztecs won the most recent meeting 93-78 in the second round of the NIT at San Diego on March 21, 2016.
–Field Level Media
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