Countless times throughout his youth, San Diego State guard Lamont Butler counted down the imaginary clock in his head before firing off a game-winner. Childhood imagination met reality Saturday night, a collision of fate, opportunity, and thousands of practice shots to meet the moment. Now a San Diego State junior, Butler took a pass with seven seconds left, drove the length of the floor, and hit a 17-foot pull-up jump shot that will long live in NCAA lore.
Photo Cred: Draft Kings
The San Diego State Aztecs are on their way to the national championship of the 2023 NCAA tourney. After Lamont Butler’s buzzer-beater gave them a 72-71 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls in Houston on Saturday, they dramatically punched their ticket to the championship game. Matt Bradley guided the Aztecs’ comeback in the second half, scoring or assisting on 27 points.
Photo Cred: Sporting News
“I don’t think anything will sink in until it’s over with,” Butler said. “I’m just so happy that we’re in this position and have a chance to win the national championship.”
This season, SDSU is 10-1 in contests determined by five points or fewer. In the second half, San Diego State’s substitutes outscored Florida Atlantic’s bench 20-2. The Aztecs’ bench made 2-of-2 shots from beyond the line and shot 54% overall. The only shot Butler made in the second half was the sixth buzzer-beater game-winner in Final Four history.
Photo Cred: Miami Herald
His shot has San Diego State, which is making its first Final Four appearance, one win from the national title. This was the second consecutive game won in the final seconds, as Trammell hit a free throw with 1.2 seconds left to beat Creighton to clinch the spot in the Final Four. The fifth-largest comeback in a Final Four contest came from San Diego State, which scored 14 points. The Aztecs surmounted this season’s biggest deficit as well.