SAN DIEGO (AP)—Senior Night will be a lot more meaningful for San Diego State, thanks to BYU’s sudden stumble.
The ninth-ranked Aztecs will be playing for a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship when they host Colorado State on Saturday night.
“We have now an opportunity to hang a banner if we win on Saturday, and that’s significant, to win a championship,” coach Steve Fisher said Thursday.
If the Aztecs (28-2, 13-2) beat Colorado State, they will share the MWC title with No. 3 BYU (27-3, 13-2), provided the Cougars beat lowly Wyoming. BYU, however, would have the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament thanks to its two 13-point victories against the Aztecs.
“We’re 28-2. Nobody has more wins, nobody has fewer losses,” Fisher said. “That’s significant. The culmination of a conference season is you want to try to win a conference championship, and now we have an opportunity to do that, and hopefully we will play that way.”
Cougars forward Brandon Davies was kicked off the team Tuesday for breaking the school’s honor code, and BYU was stunned 82-64 by New Mexico on Wednesday night.
BYU’s loss came four days after the Cougars dominated SDSU for the second time in a month, winning 80-67 in San Diego.
The Aztecs are playing for a share of their second regular-season title in Fisher’s 12 seasons at SDSU, and the first for this group of players.
Senior Night “kind of came too fast, but it’s here now,” senior guard D.J. Gay said. “It’s a great opportunity to do something we haven’t done, and that’s be co-champions of the league.”
SDSU rebounded from the loss to BYU by winning 85-58 at Wyoming on Tuesday night.
“It just shows that we’re a team that can move forward,” Gay said. “We’re not a team that’s going to live in the past and dwell on it. We’re a team that can bounce back and play great basketball. Wyoming is a place we have struggled in, but I don’t think it mattered where we played at on Tuesday because of how we felt after BYU. I think we would have played great wherever we were.”
Colorado State is no slouch. The Rams are 19-10 and fourth in the league at 9-6. SDSU escaped with a 56-54 win at Fort Collins on Feb. 2 when Gay hit a long jumper with 1.8 seconds left, then intercepted the inbounds pass.
“They have a good team,” Fisher said. “They’ve been on the bubble, in, and out, and they want to get back in. We knew when we went there this year it was going to be a good, tough game, an it proved to be just that.”
The big prize for the Aztecs, of course, would be a victory in the NCAA tournament. The Aztecs are winless in six tries in the NCAAs, including three under Fisher. SDSU won its third MWC tournament title under Fisher last year to earn the league’s automatic NCAA berth. The Aztecs then lost to Tennessee in the first round.