SAN DIEGO – The No. 13 San Diego State Aztecs aren't used to losing like this.
Kendall Williams scored 21 points and Drew Gordon had 17 points and 17 rebounds as New Mexico stunned the Aztecs 77-67 on Wednesday night in their loud, crazy arena to move into first place in the Mountain West Conference.
The Lobos (21-4, 7-2) won their sixth straight game and held Chase Tapley, the conference's leading scorer, to seven points. He came in averaging 16.2 points and had been in double figures in 18 straight games. Tapley was held scoreless until making a layup with 4:38 to play.
Jamal Fenton had 15 points for the Lobos.
It was just the second home conference loss in two seasons for SDSU (20-5, 6-3) and the first time the Aztecs lost consecutive games since January 2010. They had gone 79 games without consecutive losses. Jamaal Franklin scored 16 points for the Aztecs, while Tim Shelton had 13 and James Rahon 11.
"I think that speaks to our program and how much it's grown, We are not used to losing," Rahon said.
"We didn't play well, we didn't defend well, we didn't rebound the ball, we didn't do what we have been doing throughout the season," Shelton said
New Mexico's big win came one night after No. 11 UNLV lost 102-97 in overtime at TCU. UNLV and SDSU are tied for second.
On Saturday, San Diego State erased a 13-point deficit at UNLV and took a one-point lead with less than 2 minutes to play but had turnovers on each of its final three possessions and lost 65-63.
When the Lobos and Aztecs met on Jan. 18 at The Pit, San Diego State fell behind 10-0 before rallying for a 75-70 win. The Aztecs trailed by 10 points in the first half of this game and tied it at 38 with a 6-1 burst to open the second half. But, fueled by Gordon's rebounding and San Diego State's turnovers and poor shooting, the Lobos responded with a 16-1 run that essentially put it away at 54-39.
Chad Adams started the run with a 3-pointer, followed by consecutive 3s by Williams. Adams made a bank shot, Gordon and A.J. Hardeman had two free throws apiece and Hardeman added a dunk.
"You're going to lose some tough ones," Rahon said. "They outplayed us tonight. They got the better of us on our home court. We have to get our heads back. This league is tough."
San Diego State's only point during that stretch came when Garrett Green made the second of two free throws.
New Mexico took an early lead behind Williams and Gordon. The Lobos were up 27-17 on a 3-pointer by Adams with 8:42 before halftime. San Diego State pulled to 31-29 before Williams buried a 3 from the corner.
Each team was called for a technical foul in the contentious first half. San Diego State's Franklin was whistled for one after throwing the ball off Phillip McDonald's face. Williams was whistled for a T for arguing a call against Gordon. Coach Steve Alford vigorously argued as well — even whipping off his sport coat in anger — but was spared a technical. San Diego State made three of four free throws to close to 36-32 at halftime.