No. 13/11 #AztecMBB to Play NMSU in NCAA Second Round
March 17, 2014
SAN DIEGO -
Fourth-Seeded San Diego State Earns School-Record Fifth NCAA Berth and Will Face 13th-Seeded New Mexico State on Thursday in Spokane
Fourth-seeded San Diego State, the Mountain West regular-season champions, will head to the Pacific Northwest to face 13th-seeded New Mexico State on Thursday in Spokane. Tip time for the Aztecs' school-record fifth straight NCAA appearance and West Region second-round game is set for approximately 6:57 p.m. PT on truTV.
In the postseason for a program-record ninth consecutive year, the Aztecs carry their second-best seed in school history (No. 2 in 2010-11) into the tournament and will be the higher-seeded team for the seventh straight game. This for a program that had been to just five NCAAs prior to this current five-year run and had never won an NCAA tourney game (0-6) before the 2011 event. Times have changed, however, as the Aztecs have won in the tournament in two of the last three seasons, posting a 3-3 record after reaching the 2011 Sweet 16 and the 2013 third round.
SDSU comes into the tournament having won six of its last seven games (6-1), five of which have come away from home. The Aztecs have been solid away from Montezuma Mesa, going 14-3 at road/neutral sites, which is a stark difference from last season when they were 9-10. Last weekend, the Aztecs made a run to the Reese's Mountain West Championship final in Las Vegas, but fell just short of capturing both of the league's top two prizes. San Diego State trailed second-seeded New Mexico by seven points with 2:34 left in regulation, but used a stifling full-court press to eventually take a one-point lead 79 seconds later, only to fall, 64-58.
Mountain West Player of the Year and All-America senior guard Xavier Thames finished with a team-high 15 points and three assists en route to earning all-MW tournament team honors. Junior forward Dwayne Polee II came off the bench to provide a career-high-tying three three-pointers and 14 points. Polee II, the Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year, averaged 13.7 points and was 7-for-12 from behind the arc in three conference tournament games before being voted onto all-tournament team. Sophomore forwards Winston Shepard (13 points, seven rebounds) and Skylar Spencer (six points, season-high 10 rebounds), meanwhile, enjoyed solid outings.
Awaiting the winner of SDSU and New Mexico State is fifth-seeded Oklahoma, a team SDSU beat last season in the second round of the NCAA tournament, and 12th-seeded North Dakota State. The winners of both games will face each other on Saturday at a time to be determined.