Aztecs, Cowboys set for shootout for MW Championship

by Kristian Ibarra and Matthew Bain

Some San Diego State Aztec fans may be disappointed that the seemingly predestined opportunity for redemption against Boise State University (25-8, 14-4 Mountain West) will never be.

They’ll just have to settle for watching SDSU (26-7, 14-4 MW) take on the University of Wyoming Cowboys (24-9, 11-7 MW) in Saturday’s MW Tournament Championship.

The matchup comes after the Aztecs dismantled the third-seeded Colorado State University Rams (27-6, 13-5 MW) 56-43 on Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

“We have beaten two good teams and it’s keyed by how we guard and our depth,” head coach Steve Fisher said after the game.

Junior forward Winston Shepard helped lead the way against a J.J Avila-less CSU team with 16 points on the night.

“There were a couple times when we got in the lane and the seas parted,” Shepard said. “It’s a whole different team without J.J. Avila.”

Several of Shepard’s points came by way of arena-shaking dunks that sent the Aztec faithful into a frenzy over and over again.

“You can ask my teammates, I’m pretty athletic, too,” Shepard said.

Senior guard Aqeel Quinn had his second impressive performance in as many games through the conference tournament, scoring 16 points thanks in part to the 3-6 stat line from beyond the arc. He touched the ball often. He created opportunities often.

“We’ve got a lot of players and we tell all of them, ‘Opportunity that’s productive will give you more opportunity,'” Fisher said.

CSU head coach Larry Eustachy gave high praise to coach Fisher and the Aztec team that beat him after the game.

“That’s a team going to the Sweet 16 that just beat us,” Eustachy said.

Up next for Fisher and the Aztecs is a date with Wyoming where SDSU will try and win its first MW Tournament title since a Kawhi Leonard-led Aztec squad got it done back in 2010-11.

Tipoff is at 3 p.m. PST. Be sure to follow The Daily Aztec on Twitter for live updates.