Spokane, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Xavier Thames and San Diego State nearly coughed up the season after giving up a 9-2 run in the final minute of regulation to New Mexico State, forcing overtime.
But Thames and the fourth-seeded Aztecs took care of business in the extra session Thursday night to hold off the 13th-seeded Aggies, 73-69, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was the fourth overtime game of the day -- a first for the tournament.
Thames finished with a game-high 23 points despite committing a crucial turnover at the end of regulation that kept the door open for New Mexico State.
Dwayne Polee II scored 15 points and Josh Davis netted 10 points with a game- high 14 rebounds for the Aztecs (30-4), who will face No. 12 seed North Dakota State in the third round after the Bison upset Oklahoma in overtime.
"We're thrilled that we won that game," said SDSU head coach Steve Fisher. "I can talk about all the things that we didn't do, but one thing we did, was have more points at the end."
Daniel Mullings led the Aggies (26-10) with 18 points, while 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar added 14 points with seven rebounds in the loss.
"Tonight we showed a lot of heart," said Bhullar.
Polee made a pair of free throws to give the Aztecs a 58-51 lead with a minute remaining before the San Diego State implosion added extra time.
Renaldo Dixon made a layup with 15 seconds left to cut the deficit to three and Davis quickly inbounded the ball to Thames, who mishandled the pass out- of-bounds.
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher then called a timeout to settle down his team and get them ready for the final defensive possession, but the Aggies had one more push in them.
Out of the timeout, Kevin Aronis missed a 3-pointer with eight seconds left and Mullings grabbed the offensive rebound. Mullings then tossed it back to Aronis, who made amends of the first miss from deep with an NBA-range triple to tie the game at 60-apiece.
Thames drove the length of the floor and his jumper at the buzzer was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
SDSU scored the first five points of the extra session before Dixon nailed a trey.
Davis made a layup at the other end, then Tshilidzi Nephawe converted a three- point play to cut the deficit to 67-66 with under two minutes left in overtime.
Thames followed with 3-of-4 from the line to make it a four-point game and Mullings cut it to two after a layup with 8.2 seconds remaining.
Polee split a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds and San Diego State proceeded to send its opponent to the free throw line holding a three-point lead to hold off the Aggies.
Earlier, San Diego State led 32-20 at the half. New Mexico State trimmed the deficit to six early in the second courtesy of an 11-3 run.
Aronis nailed a 3 with just under 14 minutes left in the second to cut it to two. The Aztecs used a 12-2 run later in the period to grab a 56-46 lead before the Aggies made their late run.
The matchup pitted Fisher against New Mexico coach Marvin Menzies, who was on Fisher's first staff at SDSU back in 1999 ... New Mexico State shot 26-for-65 from the field ... San Diego made 23-of-59 attempts from the floor ... The Aggies edged the Aztecs on the boards, 41-40.