Trey Kell sparks San Diego State to Mountain West title, 82-75

New Mexico Keys to Becoming 2018 Mountain West Tournament Champions

New Mexico Keys to Becoming 2018 Mountain West Tournament Champions

Troy Simons scored 17 points, Joe Furstinger and Sam Logwood added 16 apiece and New Mexico beat Utah State 83-68 on Friday night in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The Aztecs will be playing their fourth championship game in five years but they have failed to win the title since 2011.

The Wolf Pack (27-7), who won the Mountain West regular-season title, will nearly certainly earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced Sunday.

New Mexico Lobos bench reacts after a play against San Diego State Aztecs in the first half of the Mountain West Conference men's basketball tournament final at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 10, 2018.

The victor looks of this match get the league's automatic bid to play in the NCAA Tournament.

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Senior guard Trey Kell played hero-ball, scoring 21 of his career-high 28 points in a blistering second half which helped send the Aztecs back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2014-15 season. If San Diego State does that again they have a good shot to win.

There is no March setup more exciting than the one which sees two teams meeting for a game where both are fully aware that the victor gets to play in the NCAA Tournament and the loser does not. "And I saw that we were down by about six", Kell said. New Mexico led 63-57 before San Diego State went on a 15-2 run.

Ranked fifth in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (11.1), New Mexico was 8 of 24 from beyond the arc. Not sure if they can do that vs. San Diego State but it will be interesting to see. Sam Merrill led a quartet of Aggies with 10 points or more. "And we didn't make shots".

The Aggies were befuddled all night by the Lobos' constant pressure defense, which caused 13 turnovers. I wish I could give them a different ending because they worked so hard and they gave so much and you always - like your kids - want to reward them for things like that Unfortunately I couldn't reward them tonight.

San Diego State: The Aztecs overcame their postseason woes against New Mexico, which came into the game sporting a 4-1 mark against San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament and 2-1 when the teams met as members in the Western Athletic Conference tournament. New Mexico was eliminated in its first game each of the past three seasons. USU is now (5-4x) in MWC tournament games.

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