New Mexico defeats SDSU in Mountain West Championship, 68-61

Credit: Deanna Gold/ EVT Sports

The short URL of the present article is:
Spread the love
Credit: Deanna Gold/ EVT Sports

Thomas & Mack Center – University of Nevada Las Vegas 

For the seventh consecutive season, the San Diego State Aztecs played in the Mountain West Championship Final. They took on a very good New Mexico squad that was on the cusp of making the NCAA Tournament ahead of the contest.

The Lobos have punched their ticket to the Big Dance.

“First of all congratulations to Richard Pitino and the Lobos,” head coach Brian Dutcher said postgame. “They played four games in four days which was impressive so hats off to them. Obviously, we are disappointed and we should be. We wanted to hang a banner for another Mountain West title. But it did not happen. I think we played good basketball here the last three days in Vegas and that was important leading into the NCAA tournament.”

It was all New Mexico to start.

New Mexico started 5-8 from the floor and led 10-7 at the U16 timeout. The Lobos had a quick rebounding advantage as they had three offensive rebounds in the first four and half minutes.

The San Diego State offense continued to struggle to start games. They began the contest 3-10 and had just eight points at the U12 timeout. The Aztecs had over a three-minute scoring drought, which allowed the Lobos to increase their lead. They led 16-8 with 11:49 remaining in the first half.

A notable play during that stretch was Miles Byrd blocking Jaelen House’s fast break layup attempt, however, the Aztecs failed to score in transition.

Lamont Butler then went on a quick 4-0 run on his own by draining a corner three and going 1-2 from the line on the following possession. The Aztecs trailed by just four.

Shortly after, the Jaelen House moment arrived. The defensive specialist hit three triples in a row to extend the Lobos lead to nine. They led 27-18 with 6:37 remaining in the half. House was up to 11 points on 3-8 shooting and 3-5 from deep.

Credit: Deanna Gold/ EVT Sports

The Aztecs were down big in the first half once again.

New Mexico increased their lead to 14 as they continued to stay hot from beyond there arc. The Lobos were 5-8 from deep, while SDSU had trouble scoring altogether.

Moments later, LeDee and Jay Pal had back-to-back and-one calls to bring the score to within eight after being down as much as 14. Pal closed the half with a dunk assisted from Trammell.

The Lobos led 36-30 at the break.

Both sides struggled to score early in the second half, going a combined 3-11. House then got hit with a tech after a missed layup giving him two fouls. Reese Waters nailed both free throws. LeDee followed with a jumper to cut the lead to two. Moments later, Waters hit a fadeaway jumper plus the foul. In the next possession, Waters gave the Aztecs their first lead of the game with a mid-range jumper, 44-43.

This contest had a close game written all over it. These two sides battled back and forth, exchanging leads.

The fouls then started to accumulate midway through the second half. LeDee got sent to the line multiple possessions in a row and started the game 9-9 from the charity stripe. He would end the contest 11-11.

The game was tied at 59 apiece with 3:51 remaining. Many thought this game was going to come down to the final possession. That turned out to not be the case. New Mexico ran away with it. SDSU had a five-minute scoring drought during crunch time, where they missed 10 shots in a row. By that time, it was too late.

I'd like this amount to  

The Lobos won the Mountain West Championship and spoiled the Aztecs’ dream of a repeat.

“As disappointed as we are losing today we know our best basketball is ahead of us,” Dutcher said postgame. “We are excited to hear our name called tomorrow and we will be ready to play. We will learn from tonight and we hopefully will make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament starting this next week.”

San Diego State will now return to San Diego, where they get ready for Selection Sunday. There is no doubt that this team has the talent to make it back to the Sweet Sixteen, if not the Final Four, once again.

News & Stats

  • LeDee – 25 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
  • Pal – 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks
  • Waters –  7 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block
  • Butler – 7 points, 3 assists
  • SDSU shot 4-for-20 from beyond the arc. 35.7% from the floor.
  • SDSU had 0 points off turnovers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *