Halfway through the Mountain West Conference schedule, San Diego State remains a candidate to become the first team ever to go unbeaten in MWC play. Those 19 straight wins, that 20-1 record and the No. 5 national ranking all are quite nice, obviously. Perhaps the best thing about this particular time and place in the season, however, is that the Aztecs have put Boise State behind them. On Wednesday night, it was San Diego State that had to produce the brilliant comeback over the Broncos, prevailing 67-65 in a wild contest the Aztecs trailed by 14 with 13:51 left in the game. Thus was delivered the 301st win of head coach Steve Fisher’s tenure as Aztecs head coach, and in none of the previous 300 had SDSU trailed by more than 14 after halftime. San Diego State’s defense cooled off Boise State just in time and scored 11 straight points, the last seven by Xavier Thames, to finally move ahead of the Broncos at 61-59. After hitting the Aztecs’ 10th straight point with a 65-64 deficit, Thames appeared to be driving for another shot or a foul, then kicked it way out to Dwayne Polee for the three-point swish with three seconds remaining. “Man, it just seemed like the Red Sea parted,” said Polee, “and the ball came right to me.” Aztecs outsiders – and that includes a once-frenzied crowd of 9,602 at Taco Bell Arena that all went numb at once with disbelief at Polee’s shot – indeed might consider this an SDSU win of near-biblical proportion. Thames, as cool in the aftermath as he was hot down the stretch, merely said it was “up there” as one of the better games of what’s now the Aztecs’ ninth 20-win season under Fisher. Fisher, meanwhile, is starting to run out of different ways to praise Thames. Even the coach was convinced that Thames, who’d scored 23 points while hitting 10 of 11 free throws, was going to either draw another foul from big Boise State center Ryan Watkins or dipsy-doodle in a shot around him. “I was really close,” said Thames. “It was on the tip of my fingers. I saw (Boise State center Ryan) Watkins protecting and saw D.P. out there, so I just tried to get it out to him as quick as I could. But I was pretty close to taking the shot.” Thames was the guy whose rebound and free throws had secured a 69-66 defeat of the Broncos after their valiant comeback at Viejas Arena on Jan. 8, a game that pretty much established Boise State as the MWC team that’s most nettlesome to the Aztecs. Never mind that San Diego State’s now won seven of eight games against BSU, the only loss coming in Boise last year. “They just play their hearts out,” said Polee, “and they crash the boards.” Boise State leads the MWC in rebounding, but the Aztecs had 24 boards to the Broncos’ 19, denying Watkins even a single rebound in the second half after his first-half haul of eight. Then again, pretty much everything about the first half was forgettable for the Aztecs.
Aztecs rally for epic win at Boise State
San Diego Union-Tribune | Feb 6