Trey Kell scored 17 points, Malik Pope added 15 and top-seeded San Diego State held off Utah State 71-65 in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals on Thursday at Thomas & Mack Center.
The Aztecs (24-8) made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 5.8 seconds to beat the ninth-seeded Aggies (16-15) and advance to the semifinals against the Nevada-New Mexico winner.
Winston Shepard’s free throw with 10.3 seconds left put San Diego State on top 64-61 but when he missed the second, the Aztecs decided to foul the Aggies before they could shoot a 3.
The teams traded free throws until Utah State got called for an intentional foul with 3.8 seconds to play, which allowed the Aztecs to make it a two-possession game.
Both teams were 19 of 30 from the foul line, with 11 makes in the second half — but SDSU was 11 of 15, Utah State 11 of 19.
Lew Evans had 15 points and Jalen Moore 14 for the Aggies.