Published February 01, 2014
San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Xavier Thames poured in 24 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead No. 5 San Diego State to a 65-56 win over Colorado State at Viejas Arena.
Winston Shepard added 17 points and six rebounds and J.J. O'Brien pulled down 10 boards for the Aztecs (19-1, 8-0 MWC), winners in 18 straight.
The victory was SDSU coach Steve Fisher's 300th with the Aztecs.
"I'm proud at the fact that we've got 300 wins here. It says we've been here for a while, not just me. I reflect back on our first year and the guys that were here that fought just as hard as this group did and we weren't quite good enough to win," Fisher said. "A lot of them are still hanging around, calling, e-mailing and texting to congratulate. I tell all of them thank you and that they're part of it. They built the foundation for what we're doing now."
Jon Octeus scored a game-high 24 points and J.J. Avila had nine points and 13 rebounds for the Rams (12-10, 3-6), losers in three straight.
Octeus gave Colorado State a 2-0 lead just over a minute into the game, but it was all SDSU from there.
A pair Thames free throws kicked off a 25-8 run with 7:07 left.
An Octeus free throw with 4:10 remaining in the first half gave the Rams double digits as they trailed 27-10. Colorado State outscored SDSU 10-5 the rest of the way to go into the break trailing 32-20.
The Aztecs' lead swelled to 14 points, 50-36, after back-to-back Thames jumpers with 10:10 left. The Rams rallied within seven, 54-47, but five quick points from SDSU made it 59-47 with 1:56 to go.
Avila's jumper with 1:06 remaining had the Rams within two possessions, 60-54, but SDSU went 5-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch.
"I thought we responded well. We had some guys that had to play in other roles and more important roles than they normally have, like Carlton Hurst," said Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy. "He was terrific and I thought he handled himself well in a tough environment. They're No. 5 for a reason and I thought we hung right in there with them once we settled down."
SDSU's 8-0 mark in the Mountain West is the school's best start to a conference slate in school history ... Colorado State holds a slim 37-36 edge in the all-time series ... The Aztecs were 0-for-10 from 3-point range ... SDSU committed just four turnovers.