Chase Tapley fought off flu symptoms and scored 12 of his 19 points in overtime to lead 16th-ranked San Diego State to a 79-72 win over Colorado State on Saturday.
"It started last night with aches and a sore throat. This morning it was worse, I really didn't think I was going to play but by the grace of God I had the strength to play tonight," Tapley said.
Jamaal Franklin poured in a game-high 23 points and Xavier Thames added 14 points for the Aztecs (14-2, 2-0 MWC), who have won three straight since a 68-67 loss to then third-ranked Arizona on Dec. 25.
Wes Eikmeier scored 22 points and Colton Iverson had 18 points to go with 11 boards for the Rams (13-3, 0-1), who had a seven-game winning streak snapped.
"We have to change the culture here at Colorado State," Rams coach Larry Eustachy said. "I'm not sure if the players expected to come out here and win or not, but not being able to finish out the game is not how we're going to win games. We're used to this and this is what we've accepted and it's no longer acceptable."
SDSU led 41-23 at the start of the second half, but Colorado State used a 17-4 burst to pull within 45-40 with 5 1/2 minutes played in the frame.
The Aztecs then scored the next seven points to push their lead back to double digits at 52-40, but Eikmeier's trey with just over four minutes left in regulation capped a 16-7 run for the Rams that pulled them within 59-56
Thames sunk a pair of free throws to push SDSU's spread to five, but Colorado State scored the next five points to tie the game at 61-61.
Thames and James Rahon each split a pair of free throws a bit later to give the Aztecs a 63-61 lead with 23 ticks showing, but the Rams would come through on the ensuing possession.
Dorian Green's layup was swatted off the backboard by Franklin, but Iverson was there to clean up the miss and dropped it in with 15 seconds left to tie the game at 63-63.
Franklin's try at the buzzer then drew iron to send the game to overtime.
The Rams took a 65-63 lead early in the bonus period, but Tapley's jumper sparked a 12-3 burst that put SDSU in the driver's seat with a 75-68 lead with 1:21 to go. Tapley scored 10 of the 12 points during the run.
Colorado State was only able to score four points the rest of the way as the Aztecs held on for their 10th straight win at home over the Rams.
SDSU has won 17 of the last 19 meetings between the programs, but Colorado State holds a 36-34 lead in the all-time series ... The Aztecs improved to 8-0 at home with the win ... The Rams struggled from behind the arc, converting on just 6-of-22 attempts from 3-point range ... Colorado State outscored SDSU 36-16 in the paint and 23-14 on second-chance points.