No. 13 SDSU holds on for 69-66 win over Boise StSan Diego State forward Winston Shepard shoots over Boise State guard Jeff Elorriaga during the first half of a NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A Boise State-San Diego State matchup at Viejas Arena somehow invites wild swings and crazy finishes.
Like Wednesday night, when No. 13 San Diego State held on for a 69-66 victory after BSU's Derrick Marks missed the potential game-winning shot with 4 seconds left.
''I don't know. I think this place is haunted,'' Marks said, noting that Boise State has lost by 2, 1 and 3 points in the three games the Broncos have played here since joining the Mountain West Conference in the 2011-12 season.
''That's great for us,'' SDSU's Winston Shepard said.
Shepard and Xavier Thames scored 16 points each for the Aztecs (13-1, 2-0), who won their 12th straight game. They led by 18 points in the first half before allowing the Broncos (11-4, 1-1) to come almost all the way back in the closing minutes.
Marks hit a jumper with 54.2 seconds left to pull BSU to 67-66. After an Aztecs turnover, the Broncos held the ball for the final shot. Marks missed a 17-foot jumper with 4 seconds left and Thames rebounded. A foul was called on BSU's Ryan Watkins with 0.2 seconds and Thames hit the two free throws.
''We got the stop we needed. I went up for a jumper and I missed it,'' Marks said.
Earlier in the second half, Marks had been driving to the basket.
''That wasn't what came to my mind,'' he said. ''I have that much confidence in my jumper. It all depends.''
Thames made the shot difficult.
''I just had to get a stop,'' Thames said. ''I didn't know what he was going to do. I had to get a stop to win the game.''
BSU lost for the fourth time in seven games, with three of those losses coming against ranked teams.
''They've got our number, but they really don't have our number, if that makes sense,'' Shepard said. ''They always play us real close, but fortunately for us we're a good team in closing at the end of games.''
The Aztecs were playing for the first time Sunday's 61-57 victory at No. 18 Kansas, which helped SDSU move up eight spots in The Associated Press Top 25. They frittered away a 59-45 lead in the final minutes.
Marks had 21 points and Anthony Dmric added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
''We've had some bizarre games against them,'' SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. ''They're a lot like us in terms of resolve and sticking with it. They believe they can come back from a deficit.''
Last year, Chase Tapley hit a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left to give SDSU a 63-62 win after the Aztecs blew a 17-point first-half lead.
Two years ago, the Aztecs rallied from a 12-point deficit and then watched in horror as Boise State's wide-open Thomas Bropleh had an uncontested 3-point shot from the corner rim out to give SDSU a 58-56 win.
The Aztecs held the Broncos scoreless for nearly eight minutes in the first half while going on a 17-0 run.
After Ryan Watkins converted a three-point play to pull the Broncos to 9-8 with 14:47 to go in the first half, the Aztecs scored the next 17 points to take a 26-8 lead with 7:29 left. Dwayne Polee hit a 3-pointer to start the run and Aqeel Quinn had two 3-pointers, including one to end it with 7:29 left. Shepard scored three points during the streak.
Ryan Watson finally ended BSU's drought, hitting a runner at 6:59, BSU's first points in nearly eight minutes.
The Broncos outscored the Aztecs 16-8 to close to 34-26 at halftime. BSU's Derrick Marks hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer and had nine points in the final 6:20 of the half.
SDSU quickly got the lead back to double digits on a layup by Shepard and a jumper by Thames.
The Aztecs also had a 9-0 run early in the first half, with Skylar Spencer scoring six points, for a 9-2 lead. BSU responded with six straight points on a 3-pointer by Nick Duncan and a three-point play by Watkins.