Basketball

Aztecs Hang Another Banner, Win MWC Conference Tournament

SDSU beats Utah State to secure a spot in March Madness

In mid-January, the Aztecs went to Utah State and dropped both games for their only 2-game losing streak of the season. It didn't help that eventual Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Matt Mitchell suffered a knee injury in the first game and wasn't available for the second one.

That trip to Logan was the last time the Aztecs lost. They ran off 13 straight wins before getting a rematch with the Aggies in the MWC Tournament championship game.

They won the game that counted most.

San Diego State followed up its regular season MWC title with a 68-57 win in the conference tournament championship game to double up and, although they didn't need it, earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

SDSU led 28-24 at the break after a bad shooting half by both teams (combined 37% from the floor). The Aztecs opened the 2nd half with a mini 6-0 run punctuated by a thunderous alley-oop dunk from Trey Pulliam to Nathan Mensah that pumped the lead up to 10 and then they just held serve.

Over the final 18 minutes the Aztecs lead never got higher than 11 or lower than six. SDSU was led by Mitchell's 14 points but they showed off the kind of depth that could make them a nightmare in the NCAA Tournament.

Head coach Brian Dutcher had nine guys play at least 11 minutes and ten guys scored points. Mensah finished with 10 points and eight rebounds and Pulliam hit several big shots down the stretch to finish with 10 points.

On Sunday the Aztecs find out their March Madness seed. They're projected to be sitting in the 6 to 9 range because you never really know what the Selection Committee is thinking.

One thing for certain is this: whoever sees SDSU pop up next to them is not going to be happy about it.

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