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SDSU Survives In Final Seconds To Top Cal Poly 79-78

Khristina Hunter came off the bench to score a career-high 12 points in the win over the Mustangs.
Khristina Hunter came off the bench to score a career-high 12 points in the win over the Mustangs.

Dec. 21, 2011

Final Stats

SAN DIEGO -

San Diego State 79, Cal Poly 78 Get Acrobat Reader

San Diego State junior Chelsea Hopkins came up with a critical steal with just three seconds left in the game to preserve a 79-78 come-from-behind victory over visiting Cal Poly Wednesday at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit to improve to 6-4 on the season, while the Mustangs dropped their second consecutive one-point decision to fall to 3-9 on the year.

After trailing by eight with 11:05 remaining in the game, San Diego State got to within three on five occasions before reeling off eight-straight points to take the lead at 74-70 on two lay-ups apiece by Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) and freshman forward Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.). The Aztecs had a six-point advantage with 2:05 left to play, however, the Mustangs cut it down to only one point at 79-78 on a jumper from Jonae Ervin. Hopkins missed a pair of lay-ups on the team's next possession, but got it back on the other end of the floor by stealing the ball away from Ervin to force a turnover and secure the loose ball before she was fouled.

"I knew we had one stop left to make," Hopkins said. "I just tried to dig down deep on defense and even though she was able to get a step on me, but I was able to poke it away from behind and grab it. It was a little bit of luck, but I'm just happy it went our way."

The junior missed both of her free-throw opportunities which would have made it a three-point game, but Aztec Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) secured the rebound on the final shot and ran out the remaining two seconds to preserve the 79-78 victory.

San Diego State came out in the end despite a monster effort by Cal Poly redshirt senior Kristina Santiago, who went 16-for-23 from the field and 11-for-14 from the line to score 44 points, while also adding eight boards and four steals before fouling out with 59 seconds left and her team trailing by only two.

"Cal Poly had great resiliency and Santiago's performance is as impressive of a performance as I've seen," Aztec head coach Beth Burns said. "Our team is still searching for its identity because of our youth, but we got huge minutes off the bench, which was a big difference for us this afternoon. Khristina Hunter gave us a lift on offense and Chelsea and Kiyana (Stamps) get better and better every game. The bottom line though, is that in a one-point game someone gets to go home happy and someone gets to go home sad and I was just glad Santa was wearing Red and Black today."

Clements led the SDSU offensive effort with her fourth 20-point scoring outing of the year, hitting nine of her 15 shots, including three from beyond the arc, for a team-best 24 points to go with eight rebounds. Stamps (Moreno Valley, Calif.) matched her career high with 17 points, while Hunter posted her first contest in double-figure points with 12 on 5-for-7 shooting. Stamps also had a four steals and Hopkins tallied nine assists.

The first half featured seven tie scores and eight lead changes with Cal Poly jumping out by as many as five points at 28-23 with 7:38 left until the break. San Diego State caught up before the end of the half, jumping ahead by as many as three points before heading into the locker room trailing by one at 41-40.

After the game was tied at 48 in the second half, the Mustangs scored seven in a row and ended up putting together an 12-4 run capped by a 3-pointer from Ariana Delgado at 60-52 for the largest lead by either team on the afternoon.

San Diego State shot a season-high 50.8 percent, including a 55.6 mark (15-for-27) in the second half, while owning a plus-10 advantage on the boards.

The Aztecs will take a few days off for the holidays before ending the 2011 calendar year with the annual San Diego Surf `N Slam, Dec. 28-30, at Viejas Arena. All three of the tournaments games, which also feature Penn and UNCG, will begin at 2 p.m. PT.