San Diego State (22-8, 15-2) prevails at "The Pit" over New Mexico (16-14, 9-8) by a surprisingly wide margin, 83-56. The game had its up and down swings initially before SDSU took control late in the first half and never looked back.
At the beginning, New Mexico stormed out of the gate taking a 16-4 lead during the first five minutes of the game before committing a series of turnovers (8 straight) that got the Aztecs not only back in the game but put them upfront 18-16.
A momentary exchange of leads proceeded, then SDSU hit the pedal with a series of three pointers by Jeremy Hemsley and Malik Pope closing out the half 42-31.
The second half was without much drama, the Aztecs managed to hold onto a double digit lead with under 10 minutes to go, then in what could have been a turning point in the game SDSU junior forward Matt Shrigley gave life to the Lobos by fouling Elijah Brown.
This was no ordinary foul, it was the flagrant variety and because it occurred during the act of shooting, the Lobos got to shoot four free throws while also gaining possession afterwards. Shrigley was tossed out the game as the result of the foul.
Brown to his credit went four for four cutting the Aztec lead to 56-50, and if ever the Lobos were going to make a move in this game this was it. The crowd was back into the game, and they had the ball. Guess what happens next? The Lobos turn it over.
The Aztecs capitalize again on New Mexico's mistakes and go on a 6-0 run that made the game 62-50 with 7:47 left and that as close as the game basically gets the rest of the way.
Some interesting facts and numbers from the game, New Mexico is now 0-9 when trailing at the half. They also lose their 4th straight game. San Diego State has not lost back to back conference games in three years, extending their record to 11-0 (25-1 overall) during that stretch. And after having their streak of winning games when holding a lead at five minutes snapped by Boise State on Saturday, SDSU began a new one with the victory today.
Up next for New Mexico they head to Nevada (18-10, 10-6) Saturday, currently the Lobos are the fifth seed in the Mountain West standings. A position they want to maintain at the very least. The top five teams in the standings have first round byes in the conference tournament. They hold a one game lead over sixth seed UNLV (17-13, 8-9) at the moment.
San Diego State returns home versus UNLV in their final regular season game Saturday. And with the regular season title already wrapped up, the Aztecs at this point are just trying to add as many wins as they can. Many expert bracketologist say they must at least win out till the conference title game to have any sort of shot at the at-large invitation scenario, and even then their chances are slim.