Lobos come up just short of first MW title since 2014 after loss to SDSU
The Associated Press
March 12, 2018 10:31 AM
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Troy Kell scored 28 points to lead San Diego State to an 82-75 victory over New Mexico in the Mountain West Conference tournament championship on Saturday.
The Aztecs (22-10) earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
San Diego State also got 16 points from Malik Pope and 12 from Devin Watson.
The Aztecs, who played in a record 10th Mountain West tournament championship game, were playing in the title game for the fourth time in five seasons, and eighth time in 10 years.
San Diego State will ride a nine-game win streak into the Big Dance, its longest since winning 11 in a row during the 2015 season. During the nine-game win streak, the Aztecs are winning by an average margin of 13.3.
After San Diego State opened the second half by hitting 5 of 6 and 8 of 13, the Lobos found a rhythm and connected on 5 of 7, and used a 21-10 run to take a 63-57 lead with 7:35 left in the game.
But the Aztecs weren't ready to concede.
Kell hit a pair of free throws, Jeremy Hemsley buried his first bucket of the game - a 3-pointer - and Max Montana completed a four-point play after being fouled on his trey, igniting a 15-2 run. Suddenly, San Diego State was back in front, 72-65 with 3:57 remaining.
Antino Jackson led five players in double figures, scoring 17 points for the Lobos (19-15).
Ranked fifth in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (11.1), New Mexico was 8 of 24 from beyond the arc.
There were 11 lead changes and six ties in a game that featured first-year coaches in San Diego State's Brian Dutcher and New Mexico's Paul Weir.
New Mexico: Junior Anthony Mathis, who ranks third in the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage with a 49.5 clip from long range, and ranks third all-time on the school's single-season list for 3-pointers made with 98, was 2 of 7 from long range.
San Diego State: The Aztecs overcame their postseason woes against New Mexico, which came into the game sporting a 4-1 mark against San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament and 2-1 when the teams met as members in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
New Mexico: Will hope to get a call from a lower-tier postseason tournament.
San Diego State: Will play in the NCAA Tournament.
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The Associated Press
Updated: March 12, 2018 10:31 AM
Created: March 10, 2018 06:16 PM
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.