Survive and advance.
That’s all it takes to move on in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s exactly what the San Diego State Aztecs did in defeating the New Mexico State Aggies in the second round of the Big Dance on Thursday night in Spokane.
Steve Fisher‘s Aztecs controlled the majority of the game but coughed up a late lead that eventually sent this thrilling contest into overtime. Fortunately for the boys from San Diego, Marvin Menzies‘ Aggies could never quite get over the hump.
Every New Mexico State basket seemed to be answered by one of San Diego State, and furthermore, the Aztecs were always the team that came up with a big defensive stop when needed.
The game reached overtime with the score tied at 60, but ultimately, SDSU pulled away and hung on for a 73-69 win. Mountain West Conference player of the year Xavier Thames led the way for the Aztecs with 23 points and five assists. Dwayne Polee II was also a key contributor as he tallied 15 points off the bench as well as six rebounds.
Daniel Mullings scored 18 points and grabbed six boards in the hard fought Aggie defeat.
With the victory, San Diego State advances to the third round of the tourney to take on upset-minded No. 12 seed North Dakota State. The Aztecs need to get off to a good start offensively so that they can set their stifling defensive tone. Not many teams play better defense than them, but if they start slow offensively, the Bison will be sure to hang around.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27