Aztecs fall to Lobos in title game

Aztecs fall to Lobos in title game

by Matthew Bain

The San Diego State University Aztecs (29-4, 16-2 Mountain West Conference) lost to the University of New Mexico Lobos (27-6, 15-3 MW) 64-58 in the MWC Tournament championship game earlier this evening.

SDSU Head Coach Steve Fisher always says his team will win if it outrebounds the opponent and makes at least as many free throws as the opponent takes. Well, UNM achieved that goal tonight.

The Lobos grabbed 38 boards, compared to SDSU’s 31, and made as many free throws as SDSU attempted: 22.

The score was tied 10 times and the two teams exchanged leads 12 times, but New Mexico pulled ahead in the end with a fade-away corner 3-point shot by senior guard Kendall Williams with 27 seconds remaining.

Fisher had high praise for the Lobos after the game.

“New Mexico, in my opinion, is not a top-20 team,” he said. “(It’s a) top-10 team.”

Redshirt senior guard Xavier Thames finished the game with 15 points and three assists, but got into foul trouble in the second half and couldn’t play as much as the team needed.

Junior forward Dwayne Polee II once again provided valuable minutes as the sixth man, netting 14 points on 55.5 percent shooting.

Both Thames and Polee made the MWC Tournament All-Tournament Team along with UNM senior forward Cameron Bairstow, junior forward Alex Kirk and Williams. Bairstow was named MWC Tournament MVP.

Now it’s time for the NCAA Tournament, and as weird as it is to say, SDSU and UNM will be on the same team: Team Mountain West. Coaches and players from both sides wished the best for the opposing team in the coming weeks because these two now represent the conference in the Big Dance.

“We’re in this together,” UNM Head Coach Craig Neal said. “They represent the conference and we represent the conference.”

Aztec fans can find out SDSU’s NCAA Tournament seed with the team tomorrow at 2 p.m. Pacific Time in Viejas Arena.