Two of San Diego State's four losses this season came to the University of New Mexico. SDSU nearly made it a trio of losses to the Land of Enchantment in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 4th-seeded Aztecs beat number New Mexico State, the 13-seed in the West, 73-69 in overtime in their opening game in Spokane on Thursday night.
Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Xavier Thames scored a game-high 23 points, and as usual most of them came when the Aztecs looked like they were in trouble. A 12-point halftime lead was whittled to two, and Thames scored six straight points to keep the Aztecs in control.
The Aztecs reached 30 wins for the second time in program history and won for the fourth time in the NCAA Tournament (all of them coming in the last four years). SDSU will face 12th-seeded North Dakota State in the second round.
The Bison also won in overtime, knocking off 5th-seeded Oklahoma 80-75. The Aztecs and Bison tip off at 3:00 San Diego time on Saturday.