Aztecs defeat Broncos, advance to MWC finals


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Credit: Aztecs

MWC Tournament- Las Vegas, Nevada

The fifth-ranked San Diego State Aztecs defeated the Boise State Broncos 81-68 to advance to the final round of the Mountain West Tournament. 

Junior Malachi Flynn led the No. 1-seeded Aztecs (30-1) with 22 points and five assists. Senior KJ Feagin scored 21 points, including five threes, and junior Matt Mitchell scored 17 in the game. Alex Hobbs led the No. 5-seeded Broncos (20-12) with 21 points. The Broncos backcourt duo of Derrick Alston and Justinian Jessup, who combine to score 33 points per game, were held in check, shooting 7-for-27 combined. 

After allowing a 35-12 run, the Aztecs went on a 19-3 run over the last five minutes to tie the game 40-40 at the half. Both teams shot over 50% from the field in the first half, with the Broncos shooting 5-for-9 from three. The Aztecs relied on the 3-pointer to guide their comeback, going 10-for-20 from behind the arc in the first frame. 

Once again, San Diego State bounced back after halftime and took the win. They held Boise State to 23 percent shooting in the second half. Flynn and Feagin both scored 11 in the second half, and the team pulled away. The Aztecs tied a season-high with 15 triples, and they are now 3-0 against the Broncos this season. 

In the on-court interview after the game, KJ Feagin said the team just has to keep fighting. “Whatever happened up to this point, you gotta flush it, move onto the next play and just keep pushing, and that’s what we did,” Feagin said. He also spoke on the run they went on before halftime. “We went into halftime with the momentum, and I knew we were going to win after that.” When asked about his mentality heading into the game, he said he knew it would be a tough night on both ends of the floor. “This is a hard-nosed team, and it’s not easy to beat a team three times. We knew they would scheme, but we were well prepared,” Feagin said.

San Diego State got their 30th win of the season, which is four shy of tying the school record set during the 2010-2011 season. That season, the Aztecs went 34-3 and got the No. 2 seed, where they lost in the Regional Semifinals to No. 3 UConn, the eventual champs. SDSU is now 16-0 in road/neutral-site games, while every other team in the country has at least two such losses.

The Aztecs reach their 10th Mountain West Finals in the last 12 seasons. It will be played on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. PST against the winner of No. 2 Utah State and No. 11 Wyoming.

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