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San Diego State vs. Air Force 2014 final score: Aztecs hold off Falcons' second-half surge, win 53-49

An ugly, gritty and defense-heavy win. Did you expect anything else from SDSU?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego State Aztecs (11-3, 1-0 Mountain West) beat the Air Force Falcons (7-5, 0-1 Mountain West) 53-49 this afternoon in what can only be described as a typical 2014-15 Aztec win: ugly.

It didn't start that way, though. SDSU led by 19 at one point in the first half, and the Aztecs led 33-19 at halftime. It looked like Steve Fisher's squad would dominate its MW conference opener.

Nope.

The Falcons began the second half on an 11-4 scoring run and SDSU suddenly couldn't buy a basket. Winston Shepard particularly struggled all night, scoring seven points on 2-12 shooting.

But he ended the game on a high note and made the two most crucial baskets of the game: both ends of a one-and-one that put the Aztecs up by four points with 3.2 seconds remaining.

Falcon guard Max Yon was no doubt the best player on the court tonight, scoring 15 points on 6-13 shooting. But his efforts couldn't mask Air Force's 17 turnovers, including one of his own on the Falcons' second-to-last possession that rid them the chance to tie or win the game on a buzzer-beater.

J.J. O'Brien was at least tied for the lead in almost every statistical category for the Aztecs this afternoon, scoring 10 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Matt Shrigley began the game on fire, draining his first two 3-pointers. But he finished the game 3-12 from long range and SDSU as a whole shot 4-21 from beyond the arc.

The Aztecs entered today's game shooting the 325th-best 3-point percentage in the country. Over one-third of their shots came from beyond the arc -- that's not a good equation for SDSU success.

Air Force next travels to Reno to play the Nevada Wolf Pack (4-8) on Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. PT.

SDSU next travels to play the Fresno State Bulldogs on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. PT.