ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – D.J. Gay scored a career-high 30 points, Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and 15 rebounds and No. 6 San Diego State beat New Mexico 87-77 on Saturday night to remain one of the nation's four unbeaten teams.
Chase Tapley added 15 points and the Aztecs (19-0, 4-0 Mountain West Conference) won for the fourth time in their last six visits to The Pit to extend the country's longest active win streak to a school-record 19 games.
It's a solid start to conference play, considering San Diego State has played three of its first four league games on the road.
The Lobos (13-5, 1-2) got a strong performance from UCLA transfer Drew Gordon, who had a career-high 23 points and 14 rebounds in his ninth game since becoming eligible last month. But it wasn't enough, as the Aztecs snapped New Mexico's 16-game home winning streak.
Dairese Gary added 23 points, but a young Lobos squad doomed itself with a sloppy first half and shot a season-low 39 percent from the field. Phillip McDonald, coming off a career-high 27 points in Wednesday's win over Colorado State, scored six points, all on free throws, and shot 0 for 5 from the floor.
Gay was smooth, shooting 7 of 11 on 3-pointers.
The Aztecs trailed 13-6 early but took control with a 12-0 run midway through the first half. Gay scored their last 12 points of the opening half, all on 3-pointers, including a 55-footer he swished at the horn to give San Diego State a 37-29 lead.
Last year at The Pit, Gay scored 25 points, his previous career best, but the Aztecs lost a tough one. Gay was fouled on a 3-point try as regulation expired, and he could have won it for San Diego State but made only two of three from the line. The game went to overtime and the Lobos won 88-86.
Not this time around. Whenever the Lobos made a charge it was either Gay stopping it with a jumper or Leonard getting free for an easy bucket.
New Mexico twice cut the margin to 10 points in the final 7 minutes but Leonard answered for the Aztecs each time. When the Lobos' Kendall Williams made two free throws to make it 65-55, Leonard hit a jumper at the other end.
Moments later, New Mexico's Tony Snell swished a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 71-61 but Leonard got free for a 3.
Gay started the second half with a 3-pointer and hit another as the Aztecs built a 47-37 lead.
From there, San Diego State pulled away. Tapley made a jumper, Billy White was open for a 3-pointer, Leonard made two free throws and James Rahon swished a 3 from the right wing during an 11-4 run that stretched the Aztecs' lead to 58-41 at the 13-minute mark.