search button
newscenter logo
Friday, January 28, 2022

Follow SDSU Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook SDSU RSS Feed

SDSU men's basketball defeated New Mexico, 82-75, to win the Mountain West Tournament. (Credit: Derrick Tuskan/GoAztecs) SDSU men's basketball defeated New Mexico, 82-75, to win the Mountain West Tournament. (Credit: Derrick Tuskan/GoAztecs)
 


Aztecs Win MW Title, Advance to NCAA Tournament

This is SDSU's seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last nine years.
By GoAztecs
 

“We still feel really good about what we accomplished, and at the same time we're still really hungry and want to ride this momentum and prove ourselves even more.”

One day after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the San Diego State University men's basketball team received word of its postseason destination. SDSU (22-10, 11-7 MW) earned the No. 11 seed in the West Region and will face No. 6 seed Houston (26-7, 14-4 AAC) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 4:20 p.m. PT on Thursday, March 15, at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. This is SDSU's seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last nine years.

The Cougars enter the tournament with a 26-7 overall record after finishing 14-4 in the American Athletic Conference. Following a 77-74 upset of Wichita State, Houston advanced to the finals of the AAC tournament, where it fell in a 56-55 nail-biter to Cincinnati.

12th NCAA Tournament appearance

SDSU will be making its 12th Division I NCAA Tournament appearance overall and first under head coach Brian Dutcher. This year's NCAA Tournament appearance also marks the 12th postseason berth for the Aztecs in the last 13 years.

Going into the Big Dance, SDSU has won nine straight games, including Saturday's 82-75 triumph over New Mexico in the finals of the MW Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"We're all just really excited for the opportunity,” said Trey Kell, MW Tournament MVP. “We still feel really good about what we accomplished, and at the same time we're still really hungry and want to ride this momentum and prove ourselves even more. We're excited and ready to take on this matchup against Houston."

The winner of the SDSU-Houston clash will square off on Saturday, March 17 against the victor of the No. 3 Michigan (28-7, 13-5 Big Ten) and No. 14 Montana (26-7, 16-2 Big Sky) showdown.

The Aztecs have played the Cougars twice in program history, posting a 78-66 victory in San Diego on Jan. 29, 2002, followed by a 71-61 triumph in Houston the following season on Dec. 21, 2002.

Riding a nine-game win streak

In Sunday’s Mountain West Tournament final, Kell scored a game-high 28 points to lead SDSU to an 82-75 come-from-behind victory over New Mexico.

The Aztecs also got 16 points and five rebounds from Malik Pope and 12 points from Devin Watson.

''New Mexico was the one team I didn't want to play in this thing early,'' said Dutcher. ''Paul Weir has done a great job with that team, they've gotten so much better and a team on an eight-game winning streak played a team on a seven-game winning streak—it was the kind of game I thought we would see, right down to the end.''

There were 11 lead changes and six ties in a game that saw the Aztecs improve to 15-5 at the Thomas and Mack Center over the past four seasons.

Since losing six of eight in January and February, SDSU is riding a nine-game win streak into the Big Dance, its longest since winning 11 in a row during the 2015 season. During the nine-game streak, the Aztecs have won by an average margin of 13.3.