for this game

Aztecs begin tourney with rout of Northern Colorado

Mar 18, 2011 - 1:40 AM Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and 10 rebounds, as San Diego State took down Northern Colorado, 68-50, in second-round play of the NCAA Tournament.

Chase Tapley had 14 points, Billy White added 12 points and 13 rebounds, and James Rahon donated 12 points for the Aztecs (33-2), who won a game in this tournament for the first time in school history. They failed in their previous six appearances.

"Feels good not only to be here, but to win and to advance," said San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher. "Well documented this is our first NCAA post- season win. Our players don't care about that. They've only been a part of one other and they like this a whole lot better than a year ago."

San Diego State, seeded second in the West Region, will next face Temple on Saturday. The seventh-seeded Owls defeated Penn State earlier Thursday.

The Aztecs began the season with a 20-game winning streak and defeated BYU -- which had beaten San Diego State twice in the regular season -- in the Mountain West Conference Tournament title game.

Devon Beitzel posted a game-high 25 points and Chris Kaba added 10 points and six rebounds for the Bears (21-11), who were making their first appearance in the tournament.

"Can't fault our guys' effort," said Northern Colorado head coach B.J. Hill. "I thought they played extremely hard. Thought we followed the game plan for about 34 minutes tonight. Hat's off to San Diego State. They're even better in person than what they are on video."

Northern Colorado, which had the 15th seed, won the Big Sky Tournament to secure its berth.

The Aztecs carried a six-point lead into halftime and continued to play in front in the second half, but Beitzel hit a layup and followed with a three- pointer to cut the Bears' deficit to 35-32 four minutes in.

However, back-to-back three-pointers from D.J. Gay and Rahon started a 13-0 run that put San Diego State up 51-35. White's layup with eight minutes left capped the decisive rally, which allowed the Aztecs to lead by double- digits the rest of the way.

Northern Colorado took its only lead of the game 6 1/2 minutes in, on a Taylor Montgomery slam that made it 12-11, but Tapley followed with a jumper to start a 9-2 run that gave the Aztecs a 20-14 advantage with seven minutes left.

The Bears then rallied to tie the game, but San Diego State scored the following 10 points and eventually took a 30-24 lead into the break.

Game Notes

Montgomery finished with 12 rebounds...The Aztecs have won six of their seven games against the Bears all-time...San Diego State shot 41 percent and grabbed 45 rebounds, compared to 34 percent shooting and 33 rebounds for Northern Colorado.