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San Diego State survives Wyoming’s upset bid

The Aztecs advance to the semifinals after holding off a young and hungry Cowboys team.

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- San Diego State vs Wyoming Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours after putting up 111 points in a first round win against San Jose State, Wyoming decided to change its style of play, as they slowed the pace down against top seeded San Diego State.

After getting blown out twice in the regular season by an average of 29 points, the Cowboys know that if they wanted to have a chance to upset the Aztecs, they had to slow the pace down and take up a lot of the shot clock.

For the most part, it worked, as no team had a lead larger than four points. But at the end of the game, San Diego State was poised and knocked down some key free throws late as they held on to beat Wyoming 69-66.

“I gotta credit coach (Jeff) Lindor and the Wyoming Cowboys, to play in less than a 24 hour turn around and to have a game plan set against us that gave us issues. They slowed the pace of the game down, wouldn’t let us fast break, they ran the shot clock down and attacked us on high ball screens, they did a great job,” San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher said after the game.

Wyoming’s game plan shocked San Diego State a bit, they did not expect Wyoming to slow the pace down, given the Cowboys had pushed the pace all season long. But the veteran San Diego State team made adjustments at halftime to gear towards the slower pace as the game went on.

Wyoming had its largest lead in the second half, going up by three points 52-49 midway through the second half. The Cowboys used solid shooting from 3-point range to stay within the game, they shot 48% overall and made seven second half 3-pointers as the game went back and forth throughout the entire second half.

Down three points, Mountain West Freshman of the Year Marcus Williams made the first free throw and made the second one that he tried to miss. San Diego State, up one, knocked down two free throws at the end to secure the victory.

Senior guard Terrell Gomez led the way for San Diego State, he scored a season-high 20 points on eight of 12 shooting. Trey Pulliam and Jordan Shackel each added 15 points for the Aztecs. Matt Mitchell only had eight points, but four of those points came late down the stretch as he hit some big free throws.

Despite the game being practically a one possession game throughout, Dutcher was not worried about his team. He was confident that his juniors and seniors would make timely plays down the stretch and do enough to win the game.

“I like the toughness mentally and physically of our team...We made timely plays down the stretch and found a way to advance in the tournament and excited to play tomorrow,” Dutcher said.

San Diego State advances to the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. They will play tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. PT on CBS Sports Network and get the winner of Nevada and Boise State.