Aztecs Headed to NYC

SDSU beats Georgia Tech, advances to NIT Final Four

The Aztecs are going to Manhattan.

San Diego State beat Georgia Tech 72-56 in front of yet another sellout crowd at Viejas Arena on Wednesday night to earn a spot in the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Aztecs started the game well. St. Augustine High alum Trey Kell hit a trio of shots from 3-point range to help SDSU build a 10-point lead. Kell had 13 points in the half and finished with 18.

The Yellow Jackets, one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, used their interior dominance to erase the advantage. They outscored the Aztecs 22-16 in the paint and before you knew it the game was tied 31-31 at halftime.

San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher tried mixing and matching his lineups after the break to find a combination that could score consistently. It was, in a nutshell, “Winston Shepard and four other guys.” Shepard, the senior forward playing his final game at Viejas Arena, scored seven points in the first seven minutes of the second half to lead the Aztecs to a 46-40 lead. Shepard finished with 12 points.

"Trey got us going to start," said coach Fisher. "Winston got us going in the second half, and we guarded. And that's what we have to do. Our goal is to go to New York and win two games."

The Aztecs got a nice and somewhat unexpected scoring boost from fellow senior Skylar Spencer. The man who has been a part of more SDSU wins than anyone in program history and averages a mere 3.8 points per game scored eight against Georgia Tech. Spencer, the consensus Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, also altered multiple Yellow Jackets shots in the paint.

San Diego State will play George Washington in the NIT Final Four on Tuesday, March 29 at MSG. When they arrive they won't take the approach of trying to prove anyone wrong for not putting them in the NCAA Tournament.

"I think once we got over that initial disappointment I think we're one of the best teams, if not the best team, in this tournament," said Shepard. "We're just happy to still be playing. When we get to New York there will only be eight teams left in the country still playing."

I don't care if it's in the NIT or the NCAA Tournament, that makes for a pretty special season.

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