San Diego State has this streak working, 156 games in a row it has won when leading with five minutes to go, and not often has it been challenged by Fresno State, not down here at Viejas Arena. In three trips since joining the Mountain West, the Bulldogs had been within a single-digit only once and in the others they have been down by plenty, 23 and 14 points.
But Tuesday night, they were right there and closing. But an improbable end to regulation led to an improbable ending in overtime.
The Aztecs – who had hit only 68.6 percent of their free throws coming and were 9 of 20 at the line in the first 40 minutes of basketball and are the worst three-point shooting team in the conference – hit 13 of 16 foul shots in the overtime and got a huge three-pointer from Trey Kell to escape with a 73-67 victory.
Down three with 8.8 seconds to go in regulation after Kell missed the second of two free throws, Marvelle Harris raced up the floor and launched a shot from the three-point line that was well short. But Cezar Guerrero flew in from the baseline to grab the offensive rebound, sprinted into the right corner and knocked down a three to tie the score at 57 and send the game into overtime.
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From there, San Diego State (13-6, 6-0) knocked down just about everything. Kell, who had hit only 60.5 percent of his foul shots, made 2 of 2. Skylar Spencer, a 57.1 percent shooter from the line, hit 4 of 4. And the Bulldogs (12-7, 3-3) could not keep pace after Kell hit his shot from the three-point line as the shot clock was expiring to give the Aztecs a 65-61 lead.
Fresno State made just one shot after that, a three-pointer by Paul Watson with 10 seconds to go.
FRESNO STATE AT AIR FORCE
- Saturday: 11 a.m. at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs
- Records: Bulldogs 12-7, 3-3 Mountain West; Falcons 10-8, 1-4 with a game Wednesday vs. Colorado State