basketball

Aztecs Hold Off Air Force to Open MWC Tournament

SDSU gets a challenge from the Falcons but win their 30th game of the season

At halftime it didn't look good for the Aztecs. But in the end the better team won.

Trailing by four at the break, San Diego State came back to beat Air Force 73-60 in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament to run their season record to 30-1.

In the first 20 minutes it looked like the Falcons couldn't miss. They shot 60% from the floor but still only had a 37-33 advantage. No team can keep up that level of marksmanship, especially against a good SDSU defense that got a lot better in the 2nd half.

It also helps to have Malachi Flynn on the floor. The MWC Player of the Year had 16 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as the Aztecs outscored AFU by 17 points after the break. Junior guard Jordan Shakel had one of the better offensive outings of the year, going 5-for-10 from 3-point range and finishing with 17 points.

The Aztecs, ranked 5th in the nation, will play the winner of the UNLV-Boise St. game on Friday night. If they win that game then take the conference title they'll have the inside track on a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If they lose, however, they might move themselves into being a #2 seed.

Yes, seeding does matter. Since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985 there have been 35 national champions. Of those, 22 were #1 seeds ... while only five were seeded #2.

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