©Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports
San Diego, CA- For the fifth time in the last six years the Aztecs advanced to the Mountain West Conference tournament, but it was the Lobos who won their third straight Mountain West Conference tournament championship as they upset No. 8 San Diego State Aztecs 64-58 Saturday afternoon. The two split the conference championships this season with the Aztecs winning the regular season title and the Lobos with the conference tournament title.
The Lobos started the game on an 8-4 run to lead the Aztecs. The Aztecs would respond with a 7-4 run of their own and take the lead 13-12 on a Skylar Spencer dunk over Cameron Bairstow. The score would remain close throughout the first half, until the Lobos closed the half on a 6-0 run to lead the Aztecs 27-22 at the half.
The Lobos lead wouldn’t last long as the Aztecs opened the second half on an 8-0 run, to retake the lead 30-27. The Aztecs would maintain their lead until 11:00 left in the second half, when Xavier Thames and Skylar Spencer both picked up their fourth fouls and changed the game. The Aztecs would struggle to score without their center and leading scorer as the Lobos would retake the lead. The Lobos would extend their lead to 56-49 with 2:34 left in the game,until the Aztecs went on an 8-0 run to retake the lead 57-56 with 1:21 left in the game as Shepard stole an inbounds pass and passed to Dwayne Polee II for a slam dunk and the lead.
Unfortunately the lead would’t last long for the Aztecs as Bairstow was fouled by Josh Davis and converted the three-point play to give the Lobos the 59-57. Polee would then drive to the lane for the game tying layup until it was blocked by Bairstow and Kendall Williams knocked down a long distance three with 30 seconds left to seal the win for the Lobos . The victory gives the Lobos the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.