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No. 13/11 #AztecMBB to Play NMSU in NCAA Second Round

The Aztecs are heading to Spokane to face New Mexico State in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Aztecs are heading to Spokane to face New Mexico State in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

March 17, 2014

SAN DIEGO -

SDSU Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader | SDSU Broadcast Flip Card | Printable Bracket PDF

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.