Aztecs make Aggies first victim of MWC tournament

Aztecs make Aggies first victim of MWC tournament

by Matthew Bain

The San Diego State Aztecs opened up Mountain West Conference Tournament play with a resounding 73-39 victory against the Utah State Aggies.

Arguably their best effort of the year, the Aztecs outplayed USU in every facet of the game. The red-and-black outrebounded the Aggies by eight, turned the ball over seven fewer times and stole the ball seven more times than USU. SDSU also dished out a season-high 19 assists compared to USU’s six assists. The Aggies usually average a little over 16 assists per game, ranking 12th in the nation.

USU Head Coach Stew Morrill told reporters after the game that SDSU was simply too good to beat.

“San Diego State just takes you out of everything you’re trying to do,” he said. “Their defense was just so outstanding. Give them all the credit.”

Senior guard Xavier Thames led all scorers with 15 points, including three 3-pointers in a row late in the first half. Possibly more impressive were Thames’ seven assists—sometimes as the Aztecs as a whole barely reach seven assists.

“We were moving the ball,” Thames said regarding his passing performance. “It was the flow of the game. We played a great offensive game.”

After averaging just 2.75 points and 6.25 rebounds over the last four games, senior forward Josh Davis bounced back and scored eight points, grabbed 13 boards and stole the ball six times.

Sophomore forward Winston Shepard played an efficient game, scoring 13 points on 50 percent shooting. His biggest contribution, though, was his presence on the offensive boards. He pulled down three of SDSU’s 10 offensive rebounds.

After SDSU’s impressive victory, USU senior center Jarred Shaw believes SDSU is the best in the MW.

“They’re probably the best we’ve played all season long,” he said. “Between them and New Mexico, I think they’re the better team.”

SDSU will look to back up that statement tomorrow against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 6 p.m. PT on CBS Sports Network and The Mighty 1090.