March Madness: No. 5 San Diego State fends off upset-minded Charleston

No. 5 San Diego State fought off an upset bid from No. 12 College of Charleston and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament 63-57 at Amway Center on Thursday.

Senior guard Matt Bradley led the Aztecs (28-6) with 17 points, including 4 in the final 2:37 to snap a two-year streak of first-round March Madness losses.

Beyond Bradley, no other Aztecs finished in double-digit scoring but five had at least 7 points.

After Charleston (31-4) tied the score at 53, it was Bradley’s layup that gave SDSU a late edge. Junior guard Micah Parrish sunk a 3-pointer to put his team ahead by 5 points at 1:45.

The Cougars, however, didn’t bow out. Sophomore forward Ben Burnham made a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 3 with 55 seconds left in the game.

Charleston made a costly mistake and fouled Bradley while he was shooting from distance. The San Diego State senior made 2 of 3 from the line to give the Aztecs another 5-point lead.

The Cougars made it a 3-point game one more time when Ryan Larson scored on a layup.

Charleston then fouled San Diego State’s Adam Sieko, who scored his only point on the front end of 2 free throws to give the Aztecs a 61-57 edge with 13 seconds remaining.

San Diego State will face No. 13 Furman, which upset No. 4 Virginia, 68-67, earlier in the afternoon at Amway Center.

Charleston led 24-17 at 6:03 of the first half but the Aztecs were able to tie the score less than two minutes later.

San Diego State used an 11-0 run to lead 28-24 with 2:51 left before halftime. During that stretch, Charleston coughed up 3 turnovers and didn’t score for more than three minutes.

The Cougars were able to score 5 straight points to lead by 1 late in the first half but San Diego State finished in the paint twice to lead 32-29 at the break.

Email Jason Beede at or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.