NCAA BK

No. 15 New Mexico back in MWC title game

Share This Story

   
 

LAS VEGAS (AP)

San Diego State's four-year streak of reaching the Mountain West Conference tournament finals came to an abrupt halt Friday night, when top-seeded New Mexico dominated the Aztecs wire-to-wire for a 60-50 victory and advanced to Saturday night's championship game.

The Lobos (28-5) will play the winner of Friday's late semifinal, between Colorado State and UNLV.

The Aztecs shot an abysmal 20 of 64 (.313) from the field, and never were able to recover from New Mexico's second-half surge, which saw the Lobos go up by 21 with 16:16 left in the game behind a 14-2 run out of the break.

''We had a goal to be playing on Saturday, where we'd been the last four years, and we're not; so it hurts (and) it should hurt,'' San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. ''I'm disappointed we didn't play better, I'm disappointed we didn't keep it closer. I'm proud of our effort and fight. We weren't quite good enough today.''

New Mexico's size and Tony Snell's shooting were too much for San Diego State.

Snell scored 17, including five 3-pointers, to lead top-seeded New Mexico.

''I'm excited about defending our championship,'' New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. ''I thought our guys did a lot of good things, especially on the defensive end for 40 minutes.''

Also for the Lobos (28-5), Cameron Bairstow added 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Alex Kirk had 15 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks.

''I wouldn't say they were undersized, but they were smaller than us,'' said Kirk, the 7-foot center. ''There was an emphasis to go right at them. We kept up the intensity. We got defensive stops and we kept going at them.''

Xavier Thames and Chase Tapley each led San Diego State with 14 points apiece.

The Lobos used a 24-4 run that lasted from late first half into early second half. The teams played in front of a sellout crowd that including an estimated 6,000 raucous New Mexico fans at the Thomas & Mack Center.

San Diego State was outrebounded 41-33, also thanks to the Lobos' Chad Adams, who had six as New Mexico will be playing in its fourth Mountain West championship game.

New Mexico's Kendall Williams, the conference Player of the Year, was held to seven points, but had six assists. He only scored six points in Wednesday's quarterfinal win over Wyoming.

After leading 29-20 at intermission, the Lobos pulled away with a 14-2 run to start the second half.

''We got on a roll there to start the second half, which we've really been concentrating on,'' Alford said. ''We've been outstanding the last five minutes of the half, but we've haven't been that good coming out of the locker room. We really challenged our guys at halftime. That's the best we played coming out of a half.''

That completed the 24-4 spurt. Snell, who had eight 3-point attempts, had a personal 9-0 run to finish off that 12-point second-half run with three consecutive 3-pointers on four offensive possessions. That gave New Mexico its largest lead with 16:16 left in the game.

''I was trying to be aggressive,'' Snell said. ''I heard the crowd so I just shot the ball.''

Snell was knocked out of the game briefly colliding with prep-school teammate Jaamal Franklin of San Diego State under the New Mexico basket with 7:40 left. But Snell returned to finish the last 5:21. Franklin ended with eight points and 12 rebounds.

''I was trying to go for a block,'' Snell said of the play. ''His hand accidentally hit me. He went to see if I was all right. It was all good.''

The game was a rematch of last year's tournament title game, which the Lobos won 68-59.

The teams split the regular-season meetings, with each team winning on its home court. Both teams had won the previous three tournament titles, with New Mexico in 2012, and San Diego State in 2011 and 2010.

New Mexico's rebounding and poor shooting by both teams highlighted the first half. The Aztecs were out-rebounded 25-14 in the session with the 6-9 Bairstow grabbing eight and Williams five.

San Diego State from the field shot 27 percent, while the Lobos were 35 percent. The Aztecs finished at 31 percent, while New Mexico was at 41.

The Lobos jumped to two early leads of five points, the last at 14-9. After the Aztecs scored the next five, Snell hit a 3-pointer from the right arc, putting the Lobos up for good, 17-14 with 7:50 until intermission. New Mexico ended the half on a 10-2 run.

''Their bigs did give us trouble at our end,'' Fisher said. ''In situations against a lot of teams, we would get to the rim with a chance for baskets and fouls. (New Mexico) made it hard for us to get shots on the rim with their length.''

This is the fourth time the teams met in the Mountain West Conference tournament. New Mexico now leads the series 3-1 also winning in 2005, and the Aztecs in 2010. Both were semifinal games.

The teams also met three times in the conference tournament while in the Western Athletic Conference during the 1980s and 90s.

Tagged: San Diego, San Diego State, New Mexico, Tony Snell

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..