LAS VEGAS (AP) – Two-digit draw from the Mountain West Conference tournament for the second day in a row, the Nevada Wolf Pack bounced back.
But this time against San Diego State and without Jordan Caroline, the Wolf Pack # 14 broke down and there was only seven minutes left on Friday night.
The Aztecs took advantage of it.
Devin Watson had 20 points and five assists and San Diego State did not score Nevada's goal for a 7: 6 victory over a 65-56 victory in the Mountain West Conference semifinal.
Jalen McDaniels added 12 points and 10 rebounds to San Diego, seeded fourth (21-12). The Aztecs will face the winner of Fresno State-Utah State at the Saturday's championship match at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"We are playing basketball right now," said San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher. "What it means for tomorrow, I do not know. And if we do enough good things, we will give ourselves a chance to return to the NCAA Tournament. "
San Diego also took home a win at Nevada on Feb. 20, but lost to Wolf Pack at Reno last Saturday.
"It was not a revenge," Watson said. "I think every time we play Nevada, it will be a great game and the fans will like it a lot. They play hard and they form a competitive team. In fact, we like to play them.
Cody Martin led the first group of wolves (29-4) with 16 points and six rebounds, and Tre'Shawn Thurman had 11 points and 11 rebounds while Nevada awaited the announcement of an NCAA tournament.
Carolina, averaging 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds, did not play due to an injury.
"Caroline was chosen for precautionary reasons," said Nevada coach Eric Musselman. "The season has been long. He has a persistent injury and that's what it is. "
Dutcher made some adjustments.
"Well, of course, we were a little surprised when Caroline was not in training," he said. "But it's like anything else.It's a wounded animal.We knew that they were dangerous anyway."
AZTECS WORKS, WOLF PACK RESPOND
Leading 34-29 at half-time, the Aztecs continued their momentum early in the second half on Watson's 3 consecutive points. And after Jeremy Hemsley's basket, San Diego State led 42-29.
Nevada responded with a record of 18-4 including the first point and first goal of Caleb Martin, a 3-point scorer with 12:01 to go. Nevada took the lead in Cody Martin's quick race with 10:02 to go.
"We just hung out there," said Dutcher. "So every time we play, it's a matter of going back and forth. Regardless of the type of race, we continued to watch the scoreboard, it was a two-point match. So, it's not like they lost 11 points. "
CALEB IN FOUL DISORDER EARLY
Caleb Martin of Nevada made two fouls in 1:04. He did not score in the half, playing only four minutes. There were eight lead changes and the match was tied for 6:17 of the first half before the Aztecs created a little distance at intermission.
"Two players in the league did not play in the first period. I thought our efforts were phenomenal, "said Musselman. "I think our record speaks for itself, the body of work in the non-conference lecture game. Unfortunately, we were not in perfect health tonight.
THE GREAT IMAGE
State of San Diego: The Aztecs reached the semifinals of the CMM for the 12th consecutive season. They are 4-0 against Nevada in neutral matches. San Diego State has won 23 consecutive games with less than 60 points of adventure. With the 20th win of the season, the Aztecs reached the goal in 13 of 14 seasons.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack's 58 wins over the last two seasons are the best in the team's history. The Wolf Packs are 2-4 against Dutcher.
San Diego State: Saturday night championship game against the winner of Fresno State-Utah State.