SAN DIEGO – Kawhi Leonard had 15 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, and Malcolm Thomas also had a double-double as undefeated and sixth-ranked San Diego State beat UNLV 55-49 on Wednesday night to become the first team in the country to win 18 games.
The Aztecs' school-record 18-game streak is the longest current winning streak in the nation after No. 1 Duke had its 25-game streak snapped in a 66-61 loss at Florida State earlier Wednesday night. The Aztecs (3-0 Mountain West), are one of four undefeated teams in Division I.
Leonard, a sophomore forward, had his 11th double-double of the season and 28th of his career. Thomas, a senior forward, had 14 points and tied his season high with 16 rebounds for his fifth of the season and 15th of his career. Billy White scored 10.
It was Steve Fisher's 400th career victory, against 231 losses. Fisher, who led Michigan to the 1989 national championship, has turned the Aztecs into the hottest ticket in San Diego in his 12th season.
UNLV (13-4, 1-2) trailed 28-26 at halftime before going cold in the second half, when the Runnin' Rebels missed 10 of their first 12 shots. Anthony Marshall had 11 points for the Runnin' Rebels while Oscar Bellfield scored 10.
SDSU outrebounded UNLV 42-31. The Runnin' Rebels made only one of 18 3-point shots.
Tempers flared twice and there were six technical fouls called.
After Leonard was knocked down going for a rebound under the Aztecs' basket in the first half, technicals were called on UNLV's Chace Stanback and Brice Massamba, and SDSU's Chase Tapley and White. Leonard made two free throws to give the Aztecs a 22-20 lead.
In the second half, UNLV's Derrick Jasper fouled Leonard, and the two began jawing at each other, each drawing a technical. Leonard made one of two free throws for a 41-30 lead.
That was part of a 16-6 run in the first 8 minutes of the second half, capped by James Rahon's 3-pointer for a 44-32 Aztecs lead with 11:52 to play. White had two 3-pointers, Thomas had a slam dunk and a layup and Leonard made three free throws.
The Runnin' Rebels eventually closed to 53-49 on Massamba's layup with 1:05 to play.