San Diego State holds off UNLV
Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Xavier Thames scored 19 points to lead 10th-ranked San Diego State to a 73-64 win over UNLV at Thomas & Mack Center.
Matt Shrigley scored 14 points, while Dwayne Polee II and Winston Shepard added 13 points apiece for the Aztecs (26-3, 15-2 MWC), winners in three straight.
SDSU will battle No. 21 New Mexico on Saturday for the Mountain West Conference regular season crown. The Lobos won the last meeting 58-44 on Feb. 22.
Khem Birch had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Kevin Olekaibe added 11 for the Runnin' Rebels (19-11, 10-7), who had won two straight entering the contest.
Christian Wood made it 47-42 just inside 13 minutes, but an 11-5 swing gave the Aztecs a 53-52 lead. Shrigley scored all 11 points for the SDSU.
UNLV tied the game at 59-59 when Wood tipped in a Birch miss, but Polee's dunk gave SDSU a 61-59 lead. Birch then hit three straight free throws to help the Rebels to a 62-61 edge, but the Aztecs scored 12 of the final 14 points of the game to seal the win.
J.J. O'Brien's dunk gave the Aztecs a 12-5 lead, but a 10-0 UNLV run gave the Rebels a 15-12 lead.
UNLV's lead stretched to six, 20-14, when Daquan Cook nailed a 3-pointer at the 8:53 mark. A 15-7 run gave SDSU a 31-27 lead late in the half, but the Rebels scored the final seven points of the first half to take a slim 34-33 lead in to the break.
SDSU outscored UNLV 34-24 in the paint ... SDSU scored 19 points off 16 UNLV turnovers ... Thames also had six assists ... Shrigley was 4-for-5 from 3- point range ... UNLV was just 7-for-27 from the field in the second half.