Fort Collins, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Xavier Thames posted 23 points and five steals to lead No. 21 San Diego State in a 71-61 victory over Colorado State in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.
Winston Shepard had 17 points, while Josh Davis gave seven points and 15 rebounds for the Aztecs (11-1, 1-0 MWC), who have won 10 straight since a loss to Arizona on Nov. 14.
"It was a good win for us," San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said. "Coming into somebody else's building and getting a win is never easy, and I'm proud of how we played."
Daniel Bejarano scored 22 points with eight rebounds, J.J. Avila gave 15 points and six boards, and Jon Octeus scored 10 points with six rebounds for the Rams (9-5, 0-1), who had won their previous two coming in.
"We were competitive in a game that was closer than the score indicated," Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy remarked. "I'm extremely proud of our staff and our players for what we have been able to do."
San Diego State led by 11 after a Skylar Spencer jumper with 13 1/2 minutes to play, but Colorado State used a 7-2 run to cut into the deficit as Carlton Hurst's free throw made it a 52-46 game with 10 minutes to play.
Thames, though, hit a 3 and a jumper to push the margin back to 11 and the lead hovered around double digits until the final buzzer.
San Diego State never trailed in this game as the team scored the first six points, and pushed its advantage to eight as Thames' 3-pointer with 10 minutes left in the first half made it a 20-12 game.
The Rams kept it close and tied the game a couple of times, but the Aztecs scored the final seven points of the first half to take a 36-27 lead into the break.
Colorado State plays at New Mexico on Saturday ... San Diego State plays at No. 16 Kansas on Sunday ... Colorado State leads the series with San Diego State, 37-35, but the Aztecs are 23-10 versus the Rams since both schools became members of the MWC.