March 13, 2010
The Aztecs and Lobos split the regular-season series with San Diego State defeating then- No. 15 New Mexico, 74-64, in San Diego. A month later in Albuquerque, the Lobos pulled off an 88-86 overtime win.
Friday was just the second meeting between the Lobos and Aztecs in MWC Tournament action. No. 2 New Mexico beat No. 6 San Diego State 77-67 in the 2005 semifinals.
San Diego State is in the finals for the fourth time, but in consecutive years for the first time. Last year, the No. 4 Aztecs lost to No. 2 Utah in the MWC Championship.
With the win, San Diego State improved to 4-2 in semifinal contests.
This marks the second straight year, and fourth time overall, the Aztecs have advanced to the championship game of the MWC Tournament.
San Diego State's win over No. 8 New Mexico is the highest-ranked team the Aztecs have defeated since an 82-80 overtime win over No. 7 BYU on Feb. 18, 1988. Friday's win ties the fourth-highest-ranked team the Aztecs have ever defeated and the highest road or neutral victory over a top-25 team in school history.
With the win, the Aztecs improve to 24-8, tying the second most wins in school history.
New Mexico fell for the first time this season when leading at halftime. Prior to Friday, the Lobos were 24-0 when leading at the break. Their last loss after a halftime lead was to Wyoming in the first round of the 2009 MWC Tournament.
The back-and-forth game featured eight lead changes and five ties.
San Diego State opened the game on an 11-0 run. During the three-minute stretch before New Mexico got on the board, the Aztecs shot 4-of-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from three-point range, while the Lobos missed their first five shots.
Trailing by 11 (22-11) with 12:33 remaining, the Lobos used a 15-4 run to knot the score at 26-26 with 8:49 to play. Dairese Gary's jumper with 8 seconds left on the clock gave New Mexico its first lead, 39-38, heading into the half.
Falling behind by seven points, 62-55, with 7:39 remaining, New Mexico rallied back with nine consecutive points to take a 64-62 lead with 2:40 on the clock.
Roman Martinez's second three-pointer of the night gave him 200 on his career, good for sixth all-time in school history.
With 13 points and 10 rebounds, San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard notched his 15th double-double of the season. His three three-point field goals marked a career high.
San Diego State's D.J. Gay finished the evening with a career-high-tying seven assists.
New Mexico's Dairese Gary led all Lobo teammates with 14 first-half points, but was limited to just three in the second half.
San Diego State entered the semifinal game vs. New Mexico ranked sixth in the MWC in three-point field goal percentage (31.3 percent). On Friday, the Aztecs connected on 62.5 percent (10-of-16) of their shots from beyond the arc.
San Diego State's Billy White scored a career-high 29 points (11-of-14 from the field, 5-for-5 from the line, 1-of-1 from behind the arc). His 11 field goals are tied for fourth in MWC Tournament history. Utah's Luke Nevill was the last player to make 11 shots from the field in a MWC Tournament game (vs. New Mexico on March 13, 2008).
New Mexico shot a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the first half, but was just 2-of-5 from the charity stripe in the second half.
The loss snaps New Mexico's 15-game winning streak, its second-longest streak in school history. The Lobos won 17 straight in 1967-68.