San Diego State advanced to the Mountain West Conference tournament Final after defeating Nevada 67-55 Friday night in Las Vegas.
A night after nearly giving one away against Utah State, the Aztecs looked far more comfortable and confident against the Wolf Pack. Trey Kell, who’s been battling flu-like symptoms, led San Diego State with 15 points on 5-11 shooting but struggled from behind the arc, landing only one of his five three-point attempts. However, he was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line and added four rebounds.
Winston Shepard sprained his ankle in the first half against Utah State but didn’t appear to be overly affected by it against Nevada. The senior forward scored 13 points (3-10 FG, 7-10 FT), and had seven rebounds, and two assists in a team-high 31 minutes.
Dakarai Allen started in place of Zylan Cheatham and didn’t disappoint. The junior forward chipped in 11 points (4-9 FG, 1-6 3-pt), five rebounds, and a team-high four steals.
Cheatham, who struggled against Utah State (1-9 FG, 4 pts), played much better coming off the bench against Nevada. He scored 11 points (3-4 FG, 5-9 FT), and recorded two rebounds, two steals, two assists, and one block.
As usual, San Diego State was stifling on defense. The Aztecs forced 20 Nevada turnovers and 11 steals, and limited the Wolf Pack to just two 3-pointers on 17 attempts.
San Diego State will play the winner of Colorado St/Fresno State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament final Saturday at 3 p.m.
— Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)