Thames, No. 16 San Diego State overcome slow start to top Lobos


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Xavier Thames knew No. 16 San Diego State was in for a tussle when it fell behind New Mexico, 10-0.

He also knew what the Aztecs had to do get back in the Mountain West Conference game -- and quiet the rocking crowd.

"We just had to stick together," said Thames, who finished with a season-high 22 points in San Diego State's 75-70 victory Wednesday night.

The Aztecs (16-2, 2-0 Mountain West) won their ninth straight game and ended New Mexico's winning streak at 13 games.

Thames provided the spark in his third game back after a knee injury. He had help from Chase Tapley and Jamaal Franklin, who each scored 12 points.

The Lobos (15-3, 1-1) got 20 points off the bench from Phillip McDonald, who went 6-for-9 on 3-pointers. But his teammates combined to go 7 of 22 from behind the arc.

Tapley's 3-pointer with 2:41 left in the first half gave San Diego State its first lead at 28-27. The Aztecs took control midway through the second half behind a 15-0 run, turning a 48-44 deficit into a 59-48 advantage.

"We always talk about how we have to have three 8-0 or more runs per game and none for our opponents," Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said. "We got it to 8-0, 10-0, and they kept talking, 'Don't let up. Don't give up the easy basket.' (New Mexico) did miss some easy shots in that stretch, and we took advantage."

The run included two 3-pointers from Franklin. San Diego State pushed the advantage to 64-51 before the Lobos tried to rally behind McDonald's late 3-pointers.

New Mexico controlled the glass, holding a 42-34 edge, including 21-10 on the offensive end, but it could only turn that into 23 second-chance points.

AROUND THE NATION

HOOSIERS DROP THIRD STRAIGHT -- At Lincoln, Neb., Jorge Brian Diaz made two free throws with 11 seconds left, and struggling Nebraska (10-8, 2-5 Big Ten) upset No. 11 Indiana 70-69 for the Hoosiers' third straight loss. Indiana (15-3, 3-4) squandered a 13-point second-half lead.

CINCINNATI SHOCKS UCONN -- At Storrs, Conn., Sean Kilpatrick hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left, and Cincinnati (15-4, 5-1 Big East) beat No. 13 Connecticut (14-4, 4-3), 70-67.

BULLDOGS FALL TO RIVAL -- At Oxford, Miss., Reginald Buckner scored a career-high 19 points and added 15 rebounds as Mississippi (12-6, 2-2 Southeastern) beat No. 18 Mississippi State (15-4, 2-2), 75-68.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

COWBOYS RALLY -- At Air Force Academy, Colo., Luke Martinez and Francisco Cruz each scored 15 points to lead Wyoming to a 64-53 win over Air Force. The Falcons (11-5, 1-1 Mountain West) led 46-42 with 5:46 remaining before Wyoming (15-3, 1-1) went on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good.

 

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