clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MWC roundup: Aztecs roll past 23rd-ranked Rebels

SAN DIEGO — Billy White scored 19 points and freshman Kawhi Leonard had a double-double as San Diego State beat No. 23 UNLV 68-58 in a Mountain West Conference men's basketball clash on Saturday.

White had only five field goals, but was 9-of-11 at the free-throw line. The Las Vegas native came in shooting just 61 percent from the line for the season. Leonard had his 12th double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The win was one of the few for San Diego State (18-7, 7-4 MWC) over a ranked team, but their second at home this season. In 40 years at the Division I level, the Aztecs have a record of 15-78 against teams ranked in the Top 25.

Tre'Von Willis had 17 points to lead UNLV (19-6, 7-4), which shot 35.2 percent from the field.

San Diego State overcame its own poor shooting by blocking eight shots and altering several others, and outrebounding the Runnin' Rebels 39-30.

The Aztecs needed a win against a quality opponent to bolster their postseason hopes. After taking the lead at 6-5 early in the first half, San Diego State never trailed again.

Overall, San Diego State is 2-2 against ranked teams this season. The Aztecs beat No. 15 New Mexico on Jan. 5 at home. It is only the fourth time in school history they have beaten two ranked teams in the same season.

Chase Tapley and D.J. Gay each added 11 points for San Diego State, which held UNLV to 3-of-17 shooting from 3-point range.

After San Diego State controlled the first half, UNLV twice pulled within three points early in the second half before Leonard scored on two straight possessions, including a thundering windmill dunk that ignited the crowd of 9,224.

The closest the Runnin' Rebels would get was 46-40 with 11:38 left, but Leonard and White each scored two baskets, including White's dunk that increased San Diego State's lead to 56-44 at the 5:48 mark.

Anthony Marshall added 12 points for UNLV, which has dropped two straight after coming off a 76-66 loss at home against New Mexico on Wednesday.

The Aztecs made a season-high 22 free throws in 31 attempts while shooting 42.6 percent from the field.

Neither team shot well in the first half, but San Diego State used its height advantage to hold down the Runnin' Rebels. Although the Aztecs shot 38.5 percent from the field, they blocked seven shots and held UNLV to 33.3 percent shooting.

Malcom Thomas had three blocks in the half and White, who led all scorers with nine points, had two blocks.

TCU 76, WYOMING 68: At Laramie, Wyo., Nikola Cerina scored 21 points as TCU came away with a road win over Wyoming.

The Horned Frogs (12-14, 4-7 Mountain West) used a 14-2 run to take the lead at halftime and did not trail again.

"We handled the pressure pretty well the whole (game)," TCU coach Jim Christian said. "We took care of the basketball, and then had a guy in Nikola who could score (near) the basket, which we haven't had. He's starting to emerge, and it's becoming a weapon for us."

Desmar Jackson tied a career high with 22 points for Wyoming (9-16, 2-9), which has lost five straight games.

With TCU leading 65-64, Edvinas Ruzgas hit a 3-pointer, and Cerina added two free throws to put the Horned Frogs up by six with 1:33 remaining. Greg Hill made a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left to seal the win.

"We made some timely shots," Christian said.

Ronnie Moss scored 15 points for TCU. Hill added 12 and Ruzgas 10.

Cerina, who scored 14 points in the first half, was 6-of-12 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. His inside presence opened things up for the Horned Frogs' outside game.

"When Nikola's a weapon, it shrinks the defense," Christian said. "That brings a guy like Ed (Ruzgas) into play. He's not a guy who is going to create for himself, so he has to have somebody create for him."

Amath M'Baye scored a career-high 14 points for Wyoming, and Djibril Thiam and Arthur Bouedo added 10 points each.

The Cowboys' last field goal came with five minutes remaining.

"I thought we did some good things, but I tip my hat to TCU," Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer said. "They really made some tough shots down the stretch, and that was the difference."