Aztecs beat Nevada 67-43, share Mountain West title
Mar. 08, 2015
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dwayne Polee II sat at the postgame news conference with a net around his neck and the Mountain West Conference trophy in front of him.
He played in a home game for the first time since collapsing during a game on Dec. 22, and he helped the Aztecs beat Nevada 67-43 Saturday night to give San Diego State a share of the Mountain West Conference title for the fourth time in five seasons, and the fifth under coach Steve Fisher.
"I think I speak for all three of us when I say this is why we transferred here," said Polee, who was sitting next to fellow seniors Aqeel Quinn and JJ O'Brien. "Coach Fish, he has a knack for winning games. We're excited, We won back-to-back conference titles, and we're about to have two banners. That's part of history."
Quinn and Polee each scored 12 points in their final home game.
Although the Aztecs (24-7, 14-4) shared the title with Boise State, the Broncos will have the No. 1 seed in the MWC tournament because they swept the Aztecs, who will be the No. 2 seed.
The Aztecs were the preseason favorites to win the title.
"We're sharing it with Boise, but we won the conference," Fisher said. "Boise's saying they won the conference. We won the conference and it feels great to be able to say it."
Winston Shepard added 11 for SDSU. Fans flooded the court and confetti fell from the rafters after the final buzzer.
"I told our players after the game that they have created a love affair between the guys on our team and the people who were here today that is genuine," Fisher said.
"We've got a good program and our aim is to continue to grow it. You do that with quality — quality players, but more important, quality people and we've got that. I'm proud of the individuals on our team who happen to be really good basketball players."
Polee was playing in his third game back since collapsing during a home game against UC Riverside on Dec. 22.
"It was breathtaking, really," he said. "The fans have been behind me even when I wasn't in, through this whole situation. Just to be able to go out there and perform in front of them, whether I had 12 points or zero points, was a blessing."
Marqueze Coleman scored 10 for Nevada (9-21, 5-13), which will be the No. 10 seed in the tournament. AJ West and Robyn Missa had 10 rebounds apiece.
"That's a very good team," Nevada coach David Carter said. "It's an NCAA Tournament team. It's battle-tested. Against a team like that, we turned the ball over way too many times. We had too many empty possessions."
Aztecs freshman Malik Pope had two highlight-reel slam dunks as well as three blocked shots and a 3-pointer.
Pope had consecutive slam dunks during an 8-0 run in the first half that gave the Aztecs control in the first half.
Pope blocked a shot by D.J. Fenner and then took a pass from Trey Kell for a monster slam dunk. On the next possession he had another slam dunk on an alley-oop pass from Matt Shrigley.
Angelo Chol followed with a jump hook for a 19-7 lead.
SDSU led 37-20 at halftime.
Shepard scored on SDSU's first two possessions of the second half for a 41-23 lead.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack dropped to 2-13 away from Reno.
San Diego State: Dwayne Polee II, Aqeel Quinn, JJ O'Brien and Ryan Staten were honored on Senior Night. ... Junior forward Skylar Spencer was honored before the game for setting the school's career record for blocked shots with 216. He extended the record to 217 with a block in the second half.
Nevada plays No. 7 seed UNLV on Wednesday.
San Diego State earned a first-round bye and will play its first game Thursday night against the Nevada-UNLV winner.