SDSU men’s basketball clinches outright Mountain West title with 73-61 win over Wyoming

by Ryan Posner, Sports Editor

The San Diego State men’s basketball team got some redemption Wednesday night in Laramie, Wyoming.

With the Aztecs’ 73-61 win over University of Wyoming, the team clinched its first outright Mountain West regular-season title since the 2013-14 season when Xavier Thames and Josh Davis led SDSU to its second-ever Sweet Sixteen.

It makes it a little sweeter for the Aztecs when factoring in that they clinched the title against the team that beat them in the MW Tournament Championship last season, and in the Arena-Auditorium, a place the team had lost two of the last three seasons.

This is par for the course for head coach Steve Fisher who has led the team to five MW titles in the last six seasons.

The Aztecs now lead Fresno State by four games with three left to play. The team’s four-game lead over Fresno State remains the largest first-place conference lead of any team in the country and is the largest by a title-clinching team in MW history.

Senior forward Winston Shepard said Monday that it’s always a mental challenge playing 7,000 feet above sea level in the “Dome of Doom.”

SDSU didn’t look very challenged in the first half with one if its best showings from behind the arc, going 7-for-13 and shooting 45.5 percent from the field.

The Aztecs scored a whopping nine points in the first half at Wyoming in 2013, but seemed to right that wrong with 41 points in the first half Wednesday.

Sophomore guard Trey Kell had three of those 3-pointers by the half and would end the night with a team-high 24 points.

The team needed the hot start to combat the shooting from the fourth leading scorer in the county, Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams.

“He’s very, very good. It will be a challenge for us. It will not be one man, we will switch different people on him,” head coach Steve Fisher said Monday.

Adams was very, very good Wednesday, leading his team with 27 points and draining five 3-pointers in the process, despite missing time in the first half with a foot injury and noticeably limping at points throughout the game.

He helped push the Cowboys to within five with a little over six minutes left in the game, but the Aztecs shooting kept Wyoming from creeping any closer.

Another reason the Cowboys could never close the gap was their poor 57.9 percent team mark from the free-throw line.

Shepard continued his hot shooting from the win over San Jose State with 14 points, second-best on the team.

Freshman point guard Jeremy Hemsley did not start once again as he continues to nurse a foot injury suffered against Fresno State on Feb. 10.

Hemsley contributed 13 points in 29 minutes off the bench, though, receiving seven more minutes than at San Jose.

Now the focus for the Aztecs shifts to sprucing up their resume as they head into the MW Tournament in Las Vegas.

The team’s remaining three games include home contests against Boise State and UNLV and a road game at The Pit vs. University of New Mexico.

The tough road begins 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon against Boise State at Viejas Arena.