San Diego St. 70, Kansas St. 52

BY foxsports • March 21, 2009

Kyle Spain scored 16 points and Richie Williams added 14 as the pair keyed a second-half surge to lead San Diego State to a 70-52 win over Kansas State in the second round of the NIT on Friday night. San Diego State (25-9) set a school record for wins and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals, marking the first time in its Division I history the Aztecs advanced beyond the second round of a national postseason tournament. Denis Clemente led Kansas State (22-12) with 12 points, but the Wildcats' leading scorer made just 5 of 15 shots. Kansas State never led and did not recover after falling behind by 10 points six minutes into the second half. Billy White added 15 points for the Aztecs, who shot 53.1 percent and held the Wildcats to just 31.7 percent shooting. Spain and Williams led San Diego State's second-half run that saw the Aztecs increase their 27-25 halftime lead to double digits six minutes into the half. San Diego State will host the winner between Davidson and St. Mary's, who play Monday night. Williams capped an 8-0 run with a steal and lay-up that gave the Aztecs a 37-28 lead less than four minutes into the second half. A couple minutes later, Jamar Samuels committed a flagrant foul against Williams, who sank both free throws. Lorrenzo Wade then hit a jumper for a 45-33 lead. Spain later scored eight straight points to give San Diego State its largest lead of the game at 59-37. The game was played at the University of San Diego because San Diego State's on-campus arena was hosting the first round of the NCAA women's tournament. Kansas State was hurt by the lack of production of its two highest scorers, Clemente and Jacob Pullen, who was held to just three free throws. Clemente, averaging 15.1 points, was 1-for-5 from 3-point range for the Wildcats, who shot only 2-for-17 from beyond the 3-point line. He also had a game-high five turnovers. Pullen, who had a career-high 32 points in Kansas State's first-round win over Illinois State, missed all four shots from the field. San Diego State, which is playing in its third straight NIT, gave up 24 offensive rebounds to Kansas State. The Aztecs had 11 steals and forced 18 turnovers. San Diego State jumped out to a 13-6 lead seven minutes into the game, but Kansas State closed the gap because of a huge edge in offensive rebounds. Fifteen of the Wildcats' 20 first-half rebounds were off the offensive glass, leading to 14 second-change points. Kansas State cut the lead to 27-25 at halftime on Fred Brown's lay-up with 31.4 seconds left in the half.

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