No. 10 SDSU rallies to beat No. 21 Lobos 51-48
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Xavier Thames scored 23 points and No. 10 San Diego State raced back from a 16-point second-half deficit to beat No. 21 New Mexico 51-48 Saturday night and win the outright Mountain West Conference title.
Thames and Matt Shrigley each made two free throws in the final 9 seconds for SDSU (27-3, 16-2), which clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament in Las Vegas. Josh Davis, SDSU's other senior, had nine rebounds and six points, including some big plays during a 19-1 run that pulled the Aztecs back into the game.
The fans rushed the court and black and red confetti fell from the ceiling at Viejas Arena, where the Aztecs were 15-1 this season. Their only home loss was to Arizona on Nov. 14.
Cameron Bairstow scored 20 points and keyed two big runs for New Mexico (24-6, 15-3).
But it wasn't enough.
With SDSU leading 47-45, New Mexico's Kendall Williams, last season's Mountain West player of the year, missed a 3-point shot with 9 seconds left.
Thames rebounded and was fouled by Alex Kirk, making both for a four-point lead. Thames had a steal and Shrigley was fouled by Cullen Neal, making both for a 51-45 lead. Williams made a 3-pointer with 1 second left.
New Mexico led 41-25 after Kirk made a turnaround jumper with 12:05 left, capping a 15-0 run in which he and Bairstow did most of the scoring.
But the Aztecs came racing back with an airtight defense and big scoring plays by Thames, Davis, Shrigley and Dwayne Polee.
SDSU scored nine straight points, starting with an inside shot by Davis, to pull to 41-34 before Bairstow made the second of two free throws.
The Aztecs scored the next 10 points to take a 44-42 lead. Polee had two steals and Davis one. Davis had a slam dunk, Shrigley a layup - he missed the free throw that would have made it a three-point play - Polee a layup, Thames a layup and Polee another layup.
New Mexico made its first field goal in more than seven minutes when Deshawn Delaney made a 3-pointer for a 45-44 lead.
Thames hit a jumper to give SDSU a 46-45 lead. Kirk missed two free throws with 59.1 seconds left and Davis rebounded the second miss. JJ O'Brien made the first of two free throws to give SDSU a two-point lead.
Bairstow had scored 26 points in a 14-point New Mexico win against the Aztecs in Albuquerque two weeks earlier.
The Lobos ended the first half on a 15-2 run to take a 26-20 lead. Bairstow had seven points in the run, including a long jumper at the buzzer, and fed Kirk for easy shots on consecutive possessions.
Bairstow had 13 points in the first half and Kirk 9. The only other Lobos to score in the first half were Kendall Williams and Neal with two points apiece.
Earlier, the Lobos went 8 1/2 minutes in between field goals as SDSU went on 12-0 run fueled in part by Josh Davis' rebounding. Davis had a coast-to-coast layup while Winston Shepard had a three-point play and a twisting jumper to give SDSU a 16-9 lead. New Mexico finally scored when Neal made a layup.