Devin Watson hit four 3-pointers in the first half Friday night, helping San Diego State stun 22nd-ranked Nevada with a 55-point explosion en route to a 90-73 upset in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
For the Aztecs, the win wrapped up both their first conference tournament championship since 2011 and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2015.
Fifth-seeded San Diego State (22-10) won its record fifth conference tournament title and will make its first trip to the NCAAs in three years.
The victor looks of this match get the league's automatic bid to play in the NCAA Tournament. If San Diego State does that again they have a good shot to win. They bounced back to post a 12-6 record in Mountain West play, and almost punched the program's first ticket to the Big Dance since 2014.More news: Marvel confirms a Black Panther sequel is already in the works
Kell appeared to injure his shin with about six minutes to play, but the Aztecs senior co-captain said there was no way he was coming out of the game with the team trailing.
"We had a rough last couple of weeks for a couple of reasons", coach Tim Duryea said before the New Mexico game. Not sure if they can do that vs. San Diego State but it will be interesting to see.
"They deserve to win the championship, and they did", said New Mexico coach Paul Weir, also in his first year with the program.
The lead grew to as many as 23 in the second half for the Lobos, who hit 12-of-15 free throws in the second half to ice the game despite the Aggies making several modest runs, cutting the deficit back to single digits (77-68) with under 2 minutes left in the game on a Koby McEwen bucket with 1:50 left in the game. "A lot of the credit goes to the pressure they put on you".More news: Comerica Bank Cuts Holdings in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)
Troy Simons led the way for the Lobos with 17 points and two steals.
New Mexico: Will hope to get a call from a lower-tier postseason tournament.
New Mexico: Junior Anthony Mathis, who ranks third in the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage with a 49.5 clip from long range, and ranks third all-time on the school's single-season list for 3-pointers made with 98, was 2 of 7 from long range.
San Diego State: Will play in the NCAA Tournament.More news: Yet another winter storm may pester East Coast next week
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