The San Diego State basketball team can't shoot a lick. The Aztecs entered Saturday night's game having lost eight of their last nine games. They lost to lowly Air Force last week by - get this - 27 points.

Yet, somehow, they beat WAC co-leader BYU Saturday night, 58-52, in front of just 2,279 fans in Peterson Gym.BYU, which entered the week ranked 21st in the nation and as a sure-bet for the NCAA Tournament, now would have to be considered on the NCAA bubble after its two losses this week. The Cougars fell to 20-7 overall and 11-4 in the WAC. Depending on how Utah did in its late game against Hawaii, BYU will either be in a tie for first or alone in second place in the league, a half-game ahead of third-place UTEP.

The Aztecs ended a six-game losing streak to improve to 8-14 overall and 3-11 in league play.

"It's really tough to lose," BYU coach Roger Reid said. "I think the players were still devastated from (losing) the last game, but that's not an excuse though. We didn't execute our offense well."

SDSU averages just 40 percent shooting from the field and under 60 percent from the foul line. Saturday night the WAC's worst shooting team was even worse than usual, making just 36.4 percent from the floor and 54 percent from the line, but a hard-nosed man-to-man defense allowed the Aztecs to win anyway.

"We did a good job defensively," Aztec coach Fred Trenkle said. "We did nothing different than our normal game. We came out and worked our tails off and were rewarded."

Reid agreed.

"(SDSU) did an nice job (defensively) on our inside people," Reid said. "They were very physical."

Maybe it was because of fatigue after traveling back from Hawaii or due to the disappointment of the last-second loss to the Rainbows or due to the outstanding defense by the Aztecs. Whatever the reason, the Cougars had a terrible night offensively. BYU shot only 32.7 percent from the field (16-for-49) and made only 6-of-23 shots in the second half.

Only Russell Larson, with an 8-for-14 shooting night from the field, shot better than 50 percent from the field. Larson scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. He was the only Cougar to net double digits. Cougar center Kenneth Roberts made just one field goal and finished with nine points.

San Diego State also just one player score in double figures, Ron Martin, who finished with 10 points, but they had outstanding balance with five players netting eight or nine points. Leon Carter, a Green River, Utah, native, scored nine points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for SDSU.

The game was tied, 30-30, at the half. After a Marc Carter bucket put the Aztecs up two to start the second half, Larson scored four straight to give BYU a 34-32 advantage. The Aztecs went on a 10-1 run to take a 42-35 lead with 14:38 to play on a 12-foot jumper by point guard Chad Nelson.

Larson led a Cougar rally and BYU actually took the lead, 45-44, on a Larson bucket with 6:37 to play. Three points by Leon Carter and a three-point bomb by Trent Gardner, the LDS returned missionary son of former Ricks College coach Gary Gardner, put the Aztecs ahead for good, 50-46, with 4:20 to play.

BYU trailed by just three points with under a minute to play, but the Aztecs made five free throws in the final 38 seconds to put the game away.

The game was close throughout the first half. SDSU led by as many as five points, while the Cougars once had a six point lead, but at halftime the WAC's first-place team was tied with the league's last, 30-30.

The Cougars will now try to regroup with a couple of home games next week. Fresno State will be in Provo Thursday night with Air Force at the Marriott Center Saturday. BYU will wrap up the regular season at Utah in a game that will likely have WAC championship implications, March 4.