Despite his walking pneumonia, Trey Kell (3) scored 17 points, two shy of his season best, in the win Jan. 24, 2018, against Colorado State. Photo courtesy of Ernie Anderson/SDSU

Before Saturday’s win against UNLV, the San Diego State men’s basketball team was in eighth place in the Mountain West Conference, after Wednesday’s win against Air Force, it is now in a three-way tie for fifth place.

That could be crucial for the Aztecs (16-10, 8-7 MW) coming into the MW Tournament. The top-five teams get to skip the opening round of the tournament.

On Wednesday night, SDSU showed that it could have what it takes to make it the postseason in the NCAA basketball tournament. The Aztecs led the Falcons (10-16, 4-10) by three at the half. After the half, freshman Matt Mitchell scored 11 points within four minutes and extended the SDSU lead, 43-28. Air Force never threaten after that.

The closest the Falcons got was 64-55 with 2:35 left in the game.  The Aztecs held Air Force to 56 points, its fewest in a home game since scoring 55 against Fresno State on Jan. 23, 2016. SDSU also held the Falcons to 39.6 percent shooting from the floor

Mitchell scored a team-high 17 points. He was was 4 of 5 from beyond the key. Malik Pope had 13 points, Jalen McDaniels and Devin Watson both added seven points.

Up next, SDSU faces San Jose State in San Jose. The winless Spartans are in the last place in the conference, which means the Aztecs could end the season with at least nine wins.

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