Aztec fans mark their territory in Las Vegas

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Aztec fans mark their territory in Las Vegas

San Diego State's bench cheers after a three-pointer by the Aztecs during their game against UNLV on March 14.

San Diego State's bench cheers after a three-pointer by the Aztecs during their game against UNLV on March 14.

Jocelyn Moran

San Diego State's bench cheers after a three-pointer by the Aztecs during their game against UNLV on March 14.

Jocelyn Moran

Jocelyn Moran

San Diego State's bench cheers after a three-pointer by the Aztecs during their game against UNLV on March 14.

by Tristi Rodriguez, Staff Writer

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Every March, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels get home court advantage.

The Mountain West Tournament takes place annually at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas – the Runnin’ Rebels’ home turf.

After bumping down to the fourth seed following a loss to Fresno State, San Diego State men’s basketball was forced to encounter the No. 5 Runnin’ Rebels and their fans in the quarterfinals.

This was no problem for SDSU, which showed: different state, same fan base.

SDSU fans followed the Aztecs and made their mark in Sin City.

The loyal supporters grouped together and territorialized an entire section of the arena.

“We have a great fan support,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “The Aztec fans travel and they travel well.”

The traveling was well worth it for SDSU, which defeated the Runnin’ Rebels 63-55 in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The game got close towards the end, so the crowds got louder.

After going back and forth with each team’s fan base, the Aztecs slowly began to pull away.

On top of the SDSU fight song and the traditional “I believe that we will win” chant, fans had a special message for Las Vegas.

“This is our house,” they chanted up by six with 25 seconds left.

Sophomore forward Jalen McDaniels said the Aztecs appreciate the fanbase.

“Shoutout to our fans for traveling,” he said. “And coming to feel like a home atmosphere. We respect them for that.”

The win set up the Aztecs for a matchup with No. 1 Nevada in the semifinals tomorrow evening.

The Aztecs and Wolf Pack have the series split 1-1 in regular season play.

Dutcher said he anticipates the same energy from SDSU fans.

“I’m excited to see how many find their way to Vegas tomorrow for our tip-off,” he said. “I think that will be a huge advantage for us.”

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