EditorsNote: Adds “points” in 5th graf, tweaked 7th graf
No. 4 San Diego State used a dominant second half to maintain its perfect record and secure a Mountain West Conference regular-season championship with Tuesday’s 82-59 rout of visiting New Mexico at Viejas Arena.
San Diego State (25-0, 14-0 Mountain West) led New Mexico (17-9, 6-7) by just two points at halftime — a much different scenario than the Aztecs’ 85-57 rout of the Lobos on Jan. 29 when they opened with a 17-0 run and never looked back.
The big run Tuesday instead came after halftime. San Diego State went on a 16-3 spurt midway through the second half to push the lead to a game-high 24 points. That burst came shortly after an 18-7 Aztecs run over the first 7:25 after intermission.
Matt Mitchell helped key the big second half with 11 of his 22 points, two of which came on a rim-rattling dunk that electrified the home crowd. Mitchell also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Yanni Wetzell scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Aztecs, and Malachi Flynn added 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Jordan Schakel knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points.
New Mexico kept pace in the first half behind Vante Hendrix (20 points). Corey Manigualt scored eight points in the first half, but finished with just nine. He was ejected for drawing two taunting technical fouls.
The Lobos offense went cold in the second half, shooting just nine of 34 from overall and 1 of 15 from 3-point range. New Mexico also committed a total of 18 turnovers.
San Diego State’s victory, coupled with Colorado State’s loss earlier Tuesday night to Utah State, sealed the Aztecs’ outright conference championship. This marks San Diego State’s first Mountain West championship since the 2015-16 season, and the first under current head coach Brian Dutcher.
—Field Level Media