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Aztecs gain share of MWC crown with win over Rams

Mar 6, 2011 - 6:44 AM San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Kawhi Leonard posted 17 points and 12 rebounds as No. 9 San Diego State downed Colorado State, 66-48, at Viejas Arena.

Billy White added 13 points for the Aztecs (29-2, 14-2 MWC), who claimed a share of the Mountain West Conference title with their ninth win in 10 outings. The Aztecs will go into the conference tourney as the No. 2 seed behind BYU and will face Utah in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

"This is the hard work of all of us. To have the chance to win a championship doesn't happen very often," said SDSU head coach Steve Fisher. "A conference championship twice in a row is special. A lot of people had the opportunity to go out tonight on a high note. I am very, very proud and appreciative of everyone who had something to do with this program."

Andy Ogide scored 11 points with seven boards for the Rams (19-11, 9-7), who have dropped four of five to end the regular season. Wes Eikmeier tallied nine in a losing cause.

San Diego State moved ahead for good with a 12-2 run early in the second half. White hit a jumper to pull the Aztecs even at 29-29 to start the clip, and Malcolm Thomas' tip-in at the 4:20 mark made it 39-31 for the home team.

Though a Travis Franklin free throw brought CSU to 39-34, a 13-6 burst from the Aztecs got them ahead 52-40 with 8:18 remaining when Brian Carlwell converted a layup.

Ogide and Pierce Hornung answered with buckets but San Diego State ripped off nine in a row from there to ice the game. White's bucket provided a 10-point bulge once more, and when White completed a three-point play with 3:53 left, it was 61-44 for the Aztecs.

"I think the physicality of the game hurt us in terms of (the fact that) we didn't finish shots on the inside the way we can (which is) to their credit," said Rams head coach Tim Miles. "They are quicker than gas tonight. They looked good to me with the exception of 3-point shooting. Look at our turnovers. We had 15 turnovers that they turned into 25 points."

SDSU led by as many as nine, 15-6, early on, but Colorado State rebounded to go up 27-23 on an Eikmeier triple. Leonard and White hit baskets near the end of the half to forge a 27-all deadlock at intermission.

Game Notes

The Aztecs won both meetings this season with the Rams as part of a school- record nine straight victories against CSU...San Diego State connected on 50 percent from the field and limited Colorado State to 30.4 percent in the second half.