No. 8 San Diego St falls to New Mexico in MW final
LAS VEGAS (AP) No. 8 San Diego State grabbed the lead with 81 seconds left in a tight Mountain West championship game. The Aztecs couldn't close the deal.
No. 20 New Mexico took San Diego State's shot, steadied itself and won the league title and NCAA automatic bid with a 64-58 victory on Saturday.
The Aztecs (29-4) completed an 8-0 run over the Lobos (27-6) and took a 57-56 lead when Winston Shepard stole Hugh Greenwood's inbounds pass and passed to Dwayne Polee II, who was fouled while successfully driving in to the basket. Polee completed the three-point play.
''I just saw the lane open up, so I just took what the defense gave me,'' Polee said.
Shepard said: ''It felt good. We got the lead back, Our press was doing a good job on them. So of course we felt good.''
A deep three-pointer by the Lobos' Kendall Williams with 24 seconds left gave New Mexico a 62-57 lead and cemented the win. The Aztecs will now wait to find out where they are going for the NCAA tournament.
''We know what we have got to do to get better,'' Polee said. ''Like coach put it to us, we've got a two-day tournament every week. We can't let this linger. It hurts. We all came here to cut down nets, but we're not going to let this loss linger. We've got another big chapter in our book to move forward to next week, so that is what we are looking forward to.''
San Diego State was led by Xavier Thames, who scored 15 points.
''We competed from wire to wire, but we didn't quite have enough to finish,'' San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. ''If we continue to play that way we'll have a chance to be playing after the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and that's our goal now.''