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San Diego State vs Colorado State

No. 21 Aztecs handle Rams in Mountain West opener

CBSSports.com wire reports
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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- In a crucial second-half stretch, Xavier Thames didn't miss.

Thames hit four perimeter shots, including two from 3-point range in a 3-minute stretch, and finished with 23 points to help No. 21 San Diego State fend off Colorado State 71-61 on Wednesday night for its 10th consecutive victory.

"I just wanted to kind of take over the game," Thames said. "We were up by only six or so and I just wanted to come down and make some plays, make some plays for my teammates. And my teammates gave me the ball so the credit goes to them."

Colorado State had pulled within 52-46 midway through the second half before Thames cut off the Rams' rally with his 10-point flurry.

"When they made their run, we found a way to right the ship and make a couple of plays to never let them get within two or three," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "And it's hard when you're always fighting from behind and look up and even when you're making plays to cut it to six, the next thing you know it's back up to nine. So yeah, we made plays at crucial moments, when flow, momentum and everything else was going the other way and that's what you have to do to win."

Winston Shepard scored 17 points and Josh Davis had seven points and 15 rebounds for the Aztecs (11-1, 1-0 Mountain West), who won their seventh consecutive conference opener in tying the second-best 12-game start in school history.

San Diego State hasn't lost since Nov. 14, when it had a 69-60 setback to Arizona, now the No. 1 team in the country.

"I think we can be pretty good," Thames said. "I think we can win the league, as long as we do the little things, stay focused and cut down on our turnovers. We've got a really good team."

The Aztecs dominated Colorado State (9-5, 0-1) in the paint, outscoring the Rams 40-16 from up close and out-shooting them from the field 48.2 percent to 38.5.

"This wasn't lack of effort. It's from lack of experience," Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said. "We didn't carry the game plan into the league. We knew they rebounded well off missed turnovers. They miss a lot of them and practice running down rebounds. They had six of their offensive rebounds on missed free throws."

Daniel Bejarano led Colorado State with 22 points while J.J. Avila had 15 points and Jon Octeus 10.

Trailing by nine points at halftime, the Rams narrowed the deficit to four on a jumper by Joe De Ciman in the opening minutes of the second half. The Aztecs responded with a 10-3 run that included a three-point play by Shepard and a 3-pointer by Aqeel Quinn to rebuild their lead to 50-39.

After Colorado State pulled made another push to get within six, Thames went on his run and the Aztecs led 62-52 with 6:23 remaining.

Colorado State got no closer than seven points the rest of the way with San Diego State maintaining the lead by making just enough free throws down the stretch.

The Aztecs closed the first half with a 7-0 run over 2½ minutes, taking a 36-27 lead.

Colorado State got within 29-27 on two free throws by De Ciman, but JJ O'Brien converted a three-point play to trigger the Aztecs' closing burst. Thames' running jumper just before the first-half buzzer capped it.

San Diego State improved to 5-0 away from home this season in winning for the first time in its last three trips to Colorado State.

"I want to get any win, but this one I was really looking forward to because I hadn't won here in the past two years that I've been here. So, I'm glad we got this," Thames said.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
San Diego State #21 (11-1) «363571
Colorado State (9-5)273461
SDGST:X. Thames 23 Pts
SDGST:J. Davis 15 Reb
SDGST:D. Allen 2 Ast
COLOST:D. Bejarano 22 Pts
COLOST:D. Bejarano 8 Reb
COLOST:D. Smith 3 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
San Diego StateColorado State
SDGST
Xavier Thames
COLOST
Daniel Bejarano
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
23312281
San Diego State Aztecs
J. Davis, F333-41-415107
X. Thames, G328-134-431123
S. Spencer, F322-60-19014
W. Shepard, F296-115-820117
J. O'Brien, F264-101-11159
D. Polee II, F181-41-14033
A. Quinn, G123-50-01138
D. Allen, G100-00-21240
M. Shrigley, F80-30-00120
J. Johnson, FDid Not Play
A. Chol, FDid Not Play
R. Staten, GDid Not Play
P. U'u, GDid Not Play
D. Williams, GDid Not Play
K. Woldemichael, GDid Not Play
D. Maxwell, GDid Not Play
N. Federico, FDid Not Play
Totals 27-5612-213672071
 48.2%57.1% 
Colorado State Rams
J. Avila, F356-93-461515
J. Octeus, G354-82-261410
D. Bejarano, G346-207-781122
J. De Ciman, G322-83-41127
G. Santo, F322-42-38036
D. Smith, G150-10-22330
D. Cohn, G70-20-11000
C. Hurst, G70-01-20001
M. Holt, F-C30-00-00010
J. Carr, GDid Not Play
D. Daniels, FDid Not Play
J. Gillon, GDid Not Play
J. Morgan, GDid Not Play
S. Kidd, FDid Not Play
E. Bueno, GDid Not Play
M. Burnett, GDid Not Play
Totals 20-5218-253271961
 38.5%72.0% 
Mountain West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
San Diego St12-322-623
Boise St.11-421-742
Colorado St.11-524-526
Utah St.11-518-10147
Wyoming10-521-797
Fresno St.8-712-15192
UNLV6-915-13101
New Mexico6-1014-14157
Air Force6-1113-15245
Nevada4-118-19301
San Jose St.0-152-25334