Posted at: 03/08/2014 10:22 PM
Updated at: 03/10/2014 8:36 AM
By: Shaun Griswold, KOB.com
Photo: CBS Sports
Xavier Thames scored 23 points as he led a second half San Diego State comeback against New Mexico to win the Mountain West regular season title 51-48.
New Mexico (24-6, 13-3) went on a 15-0 run to take a 14-point lead with 11:39 left to play in the game.
With the game in jeopardy, San Diego State responded by taking away the Lobo advantage in the paint by transitioning to a zone defense.
No. 10 San Diego State (27-3, 16-2) held New Mexico’s Cameron Bairstow scoreless in the final 12 minutes of the game with the strategy.
Bairstow led No. 21 New Mexico with 20 points and 7 rebounds but his efforts couldn’t stall the 16 New Mexico turnovers that led to 22 points for the Aztecs.
The Aztec defense locked Kendall Williams like a safe, he was just 3 for 10 from the field and blanked from the 3-point line except for a desperation three to the end the game.
He finished with 7 points, 4 assists and 4 fouls that kept him at the bench late in the game.
His 3-point basket, plus one from Deshawn Delaney (5pts, 4 reb) that gave New Mexico a slight lead late in the game left both teams with a combined 2 for 23 shooting from long range.
Alex Kirk recorded a double double (14 pts, 11 rebs) for the Lobos. He started the game on the bottom end of dunk by SDSU then transitioned his own slam for the Lobos first points in the contest.
With the win, San Diego State locked up a bye as the top seed in the Mountain West conference tournament.
The Aztecs will play the winner of the Utah State/Colorado State game. New Mexico will also have a bye, they will play the winner of the Fresno State/Air Force game on March 13.
If the two teams reach the finals, Las Vegas would be the the perfect city to host a tie breaker between the Lobos and Aztecs.