Mission-Accomplished for the Aztecs. Well at least part one of that mission anyway.
The Aztecs can check off at least one box from their list of goals for this season as San Diego State earned the outright Mountain West conference title with a 73-61 in Laramie, Wyoming.
St. Augustine product Trey Kell led the Aztecs with 24 points against the Cowboys. 15 of those came in the first half as SDSU climbed out of an early 8-2 hole to lead by 8 at the break.
The Aztecs made 7 of their first 12 three-pointers and finished 9-21 from behind the arc. That was good for 42 percent from long range.
Senior Winston Shepard added 14 points and freshman Jeremy Hemsley eased himself back into more playing time with 13 points off the bench.
Hemsley is still nursing a foot injury that kept him out of the Air Force game a couple weeks ago.
Early losses in the conference season to Little-Rock Arkansas and Grand Canyon University made many SDSU fans want to press the panic button on this season.
Perhaps the biggest shocker was SDSU’s loss to cross-town rival USD when the Toreros upset the Aztecs at Petco Park.
That was about three months ago, but it seems like so much time has passed.
Their second mission – should they choose to accept it – is to win the MW conference tournament and secure the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
There is no guarantee that two MW teams will be invited this March to the “Big Dance,” so the Aztecs need to make sure they don’t leave their NCAA tourney fate in the hands of committee members.
Even if SDSU finishes 17-1 in conference play, a loss in the MW tournament could derail their hopes of returning to the big stage and there is a chance that they would be relegated to the NIT if they were upset in Las Vegas.
Stay tuned for Part Two with the Aztecs as they prepare for their last 3 regular season games and then a business trip to Sin City.
SDSU hosts Boise State Saturday at 3 pm PT and then travels to Albuquerque on Tuesday March 1st before closing the regular season at Viejas Arena against UNLV on Saturday March 5th.