San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Xavier Thames tallied a team-high 17 points, including four clutch free throws in the final minute that helped No. 24 San Diego State hold off San Diego, 65-64, on Thursday at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
With San Diego State clinging to a 61-60 edge with 12.2 seconds left, Thames calmly drilled two free throws to push the cushion to three.
The Aztecs elected to foul rather than allow San Diego to try a potential game-tying 3-pointer, and Duda Sanadze hit both free throws to trim the margin to one.
Thames drew another foul and knocked down to more from the charity stripe to make it 65-62 with 5.9 seconds, but after another quick San Diego State foul, Christopher Anderson sank two free throws to again make it a one-point game.
San Diego then forced a jump ball on the ensuing in bounds pass to Thames, and with the possession arrow in their favor, the Toreros took possession with 3.2 ticks on the clock.
On the ensuing in bounds pass, Sanadze got a good look at a right wing triple, but his shot hit the front rim, allowing the Aztecs to escape with the victory.
"USD came out and played hard, and I'm just glad we got the win," Thames said. "Now we've got to move on and get ready for a good (Washington) team."
Dwayne Polee chipped in 12 points while Josh Davis donated 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Aztecs (6-1), who have won five straight games.
Anderson led San Diego (7-3) with 22 points, while Johnny Dee netted 21 points for the Toreros, who have dropped two straight.
Thames split a pair of free throws with 3:37 remaining to give SDSU a 60-53 lead before Dee drilled a triple at the other end to trim the margin to four.
After Davis went 1-of-2 from the stripe with 1:59 left to make it 61-57, Dee buried another trey to bring the Toreros within one.
The teams exchanged empty possessions from there, with Davis missing a layup, Dee missing a floater, and J.J. O' Brien and Winston Shepard each misfiring on a pair of shots prior to Thames' free throws with 12.2 seconds left.
A tightly-contested first half found the teams knotted at 32-32 at halftime.
With San Diego State holding a 50-47 advantage with 8:04 to play, the Aztecs used a 7-0 run, capped by a Thames free throw to build a double-digit spread.
The Aztecs have won 36 straight games against other teams from California ... SDSU leads the all-time series, 28-17 ... The Aztecs won the rebounding battle, 44-29 ... San Diego shot 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the floor, including an 8-of-14 mark from 3-point range.