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San Diego State 73, Nevada 58

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State rolled to its 20th straight victory by defeating visiting Nevada 73-58 on Saturday night in a Mountain West Conference game.

The No. 5 Aztecs tied a school record for consecutive victories, last accomplished by the 2010-11 team that went 34-3 and advanced to the Sweet 16.

San Diego State (21-1, 10-0) was led by guard Xavier Thames' 17 points. Forward Winston Shepard added 16.

Nevada (12-12, 7-4), which lost for the third time in five games, was paced by 17 points from guard Jerry Evans Jr.

The Aztecs picked up in the second half from their sizzling end to the first half by scoring the opening five points, good for a 42-33 lead three minutes in. All five points came from free throws by Thames, forward JJ O'Brien and forward Josh Davis.

With San Diego State's stingy man defense stifling Nevada, the Aztecs stretched their cushion to 10 points when guard Aqeel Quinn sank a 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring with 13 minutes remaining. The lead had grown to 51-41 and Nevada was being tested to stay close.

The Wolf Pack broke a three-minute scoreless drought at 10:08 when guard Michael Perez hit a 3-pointer, cutting the Aztecs' 14-point edge to 55-44.

Nevada did pull to within 61-52 when Evans drilled a 3-pointer with six minutes to play. But San Diego State scored six straight points -- on a layup by Davis, a jumper by Shepard and dunk by Davis which came off a steal.

That did in the Wolf Pack as the Aztecs cruised down the stretch, earning their school-record 10th straight conference win. Those 10 wins are one more than they had during last year's conference's slate.

San Diego State shot 52.1 percent (25 of 48); Nevada hit 42.9 percent (21 of 49).

The Wolf Pack hung with the Aztecs in the opening half, trailing by no more than three points until the nine-minute mark.

It looked like the Aztecs were primed to go on a run after a steal and dunk by guard Dwayne Polee, a turnover by Burton and a jumper by Shepard. That had the Aztecs up 20-15.

But the Wolf Pack did not panic and tied the game at 22 with seven minutes left on a three-point play by Evans. It was tied again at 26 when Aztecs Shepard scored on consecutive layups, but again the Wolf Pack came back.

Nevada was up 31-30 on a three-point play by guard Marqueze Coleman with three minutes left. It was its first lead in five minutes.

Then San Diego State went on a 7-0 blitz to end the half and take a 37-31 lead into the locker room; four of the points came from forward Josh Davis.

NOTES: No. 5 San Diego State is the first team since Notre Dame in 2010-11 to receive zero preseason AP Top 25 votes and reach the top five. ... The Aztecs extended their school record for 20 wins to nine consecutive seasons. ... Saturday's game was the first of a four-game stretch in which San Diego State plays three at home; the others against Air Force and Utah State. ... Coming into Saturday's contest, three of Nevada's last five games went to overtime. That includes a double-overtime win over Fresno State. Nevada was 3-2 in those outings. ... Nevada guard Deonte Burton (1,944 points) moved into second place on the school's all-time points list with 23 points in Wednesday's loss to Utah State.
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