New Mexico State vs San Diego State

SDSU outlasts New Mexico State in overtime


SPOKANE, Wash. -- "March Madness?" How 'bout "The Longest Day?"

San Diego State made a bit of history late Thursday night, pulling out a 73-69 victory against New Mexico State in the record-setting fourth overtime game of Day 1 of the NCAA tournament.

Xavier Thames scored the first basket of overtime and made three of four free throws at the end of the extra session to help the fourth-seeded Aztecs (30-4) advance to Saturday's third-round West regional game against North Dakota State, which beat Oklahoma 80-75 -- in overtime, of course.

"I told our players after the game, doesn't matter how, it just matters you did win," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said.

Thames had 23 points for the Aztecs, who didn't trail once over the entire 45 minutes.

Holding a comfortable five-point lead with 32 seconds left, the Aztecs let Renaldo Dixon score to make it 60-57 with 16.9 remaining.

An inbounds pass and a few free throws were all they needed to wrap things up.

Not quite that easy, especially not on this day.

Thames mishandled the inbounds pass and, after a timeout, the 13th-seeded Aggies (26-10) worked the ball to Kevin Aronis, who made the 3-pointer to tie it. Thames had a chance to win but his shot rimmed out, and off to overtime they went.

"It's the tournament, so everybody is going to bring their best punch," San Diego State's Dwayne Polee said. "They punched us in the mouth in the second half but we took it to OT and fought even harder."

The Aztecs joined North Dakota State, UConn and St. Louis as overtime winners on the first full day of the tournament. The last time there had been as many as three overtimes in one day was March 20, 2010.

This one didn't appear headed that way.

San Diego State built a 14-point lead early in the second half, in large part because New Mexico State's big man, 7-foot-5, 355-pound Sim Bhullar, spent most of the first half on the bench. With Bhullar back in the game, the Aggies' offense started clicking again. He and Daniel Mullings connected repeatedly in chipping the deficit to 44-42 after a 22-10 run.

Thames made three straight baskets for the Aztecs to build the lead back to six and it looked like they would grind the game away from there.

Instead, they had to work overtime, and San Diego State started pulling away when Bhullar fouled out with 3:21 left in the extra session. The big fella finished with 14 points and seven rebounds and Mullings had 18 for the Aggies.

"It's depressing, is what it is," Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said. "To be able to fight that hard the second half and not get over the hump in overtime. I thought we drew up some really good stuff and we just missed some right at the basket."

While San Diego State might not have the height -- 6-8 Josh Davis looked like a little kid trying to guard Bhullar when he posted up -- the Aztecs do have some reach. They blocked nine shots -- seven more than Bhullar -- and had eight steals. Led by 14 boards from Davis, San Diego State finished with 40 rebounds, only one less than the Aztecs.

Yet one more category in which the teams were nearly even.

"The fight's never over `til the clock hits zero," Bhullar said. "So we just came out in the second half and played our hearts out and took it into overtime."

A fitting way to end the day.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
New Mexico State #13 2040969
San Diego State #4 «32281373
NMEXST:D. Mullings 18 Pts
NMEXST:T. Nephawe 8 Reb
NMEXST:D. Mullings 4 Ast
SDGST:X. Thames 23 Pts
SDGST:J. Davis 14 Reb
SDGST:X. Thames 5 Ast

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New Mexico StateSan Diego State
Daniel Mullings
Xavier Thames
New Mexico State Aggies
D. Mullings, G436-136-754418
T. Nephawe, C425-162-480212
K. Aronis, G424-110-052212
S. Bhullar, C296-92-570514
D. Eldridge, G200-50-02300
I. Baker, G311-61-23243
R. Dixon, F184-51-272510
M. Buovac, F110-00-00000
K. Ross-Miller, GDid Not Play
R. Barry, FDid Not Play
A. Kubinski, FDid Not Play
T. Bhullar, CDid Not Play
T. Landry, GDid Not Play
Totals 26-6512-2037132269
San Diego State Aztecs
X. Thames, G436-1710-1225423
J. Davis, F415-100-0141210
S. Spencer, F360-03-46143
W. Shepard, F273-110-00217
J. O'Brien, F233-60-04047
D. Polee II, F294-86-960115
M. Shrigley, F162-50-02006
A. Quinn, G90-22-21012
J. Johnson, F10-00-00010
A. Chol, FDid Not Play
R. Staten, GDid Not Play
P. U'u, GDid Not Play
D. Allen, GDid Not Play
D. Williams, GDid Not Play
K. Woldemichael, GDid Not Play
D. Maxwell, GDid Not Play
N. Federico, FDid Not Play
Totals 23-5921-273591773
Western Athletic
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Grand Canyon0-04-0145
New Mex. St.0-02-196
Utah Valley0-03-236
UT-Rio Grande Valley0-03-2228
Chicago St.0-02-4207

Mountain West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Boise St.0-04-1142
Air Force0-03-1279
San Diego St0-03-1175
Colorado St.0-02-2230
Fresno St.0-02-2194
New Mexico0-02-2330
Utah St.0-02-3179
San Jose St.0-01-3272
Other games
DAYT 60 Final
AMER 35 Final
PITT 77 Final
HARV 61 Final
WMU 53 Final
SYR 77
BYU 68 Final
ORE 87
ALB 55 Final
FLA 67
DEL 78 Final
STJOE 81 Final
WOFF 40 Final
NCST 80 Final
STL 83
NDST 80 Final
AZST 85 Final
MIL 53 Final
MAN 64 Final
LOU 71