SAN DIEGO (AP)Adam Seiko scored all 18 points on 3-pointers and Matt Bradley added 17 points for No. 25 San Diego, the Mountain West Conference front-runner that beat UNLV 82-71 Saturday for its third straight win and seventh in eight games.
The Aztecs (20-5, 11-2 MWC) buried the Runnin’ Rebels in a blizzard of 3-pointers and slam dunks, including during a 14-0 run midway through the first half, to sweep the season series and top UNLV the fifth straight time. Keshad Johnson scored 11 of his 14 points in the game’s first 6 1/2 minutes and Nathan Mensah had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
”The ceiling’s pretty high. Everybody knows we’re the deepest team in this conference,” Bradley said. ”When we get production from everybody, that’s a first-place team you’re looking at. I’m just happy for our guys and everybody that stepped up today, for sure.”
SDSU has won 20 games in all six seasons under coach Brian Dutcher and for the 18th time since his predecessor and former boss, Steve Fisher, took over what had been a floundering program in 1999-2000.
Elijah Harkless scored 24 for UNLV (16-9, 5-8) before fouling out with 2:05 to go. Keshon Gilbert added 19 for the Runnin’ Rebels, who didn’t get their first assist until two minutes into the second half.
SDSU led by 23 points with 7:45 to play before the Rebels cut the gap. The Aztecs made 12 of 28 3-pointers overall and 7 of 19 in the first 20 minutes, when they dominated from the opening tip and led 43-23 at halftime.
SDSU opened the game with alley-oop slam dunks by Mensah and Johnson, with Lamont Butler assisting on both, and then began raining 3s on the Runnin’ Rebels.
Seiko and Micah Parrish opened the 14-0 run with 3-pointers before the Aztecs showed a strong inside game with three straight slam dunks by Butler, Mensah – who converted a 3-point play – and Bradley to take a 30-11 lead. Butler grabbed a loose ball and swooped in for his dunk and Bradley had a steal to set up his dunk.
”That was big,” Bradley said. ”Three dunks in a row, steals, the gym was hyped, it was a really nice moment. We could have done a better job keeping our foot down and just keep going, but that moment was really special for sure.”
Johnson’s early points included a 3-pointer and a steal, after which he went coast-to-coast for a layup. Seiko had three 3-pointers in each half.
The Aztecs had 21 turnovers, including 13 in the second half.
”We’re playing good basketball, obviously. But the key is playing 40 minutes,” Dutcher said. ”That’s what great teams do. So we’re very good. . We’re playing to a high standard. But the level of the climb is to do it for longer periods of time. We’ve proven we can do it but can we do it for a longer period of time.”
UNLV: The Runnin’ Rebels, who lost 76-67 at home to SDSU on Dec. 31, didn’t have an assist in the first half.
San Diego State: The Aztecs should solidify their spot in The Associated Press Top 25 after winning 63-61 at Utah State on Wednesday night and then easily handling UNLV. SDSU held on against Utah State after blowing most of a 16-point halftime lead.
UNLV: Hosts San Jose State on Tuesday night.
San Diego State: At Fresno State on Wednesday night.
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