SDSU Mountain West NCAA
Aztec Keshad Johnson, at Viejas Arena last month, scored 11 against Air Force Saturday. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan, via goaztecs.com

San Diego State took over in the second half Saturday, defeating Air Force 76-64 at Viejas Arena, but they still suffered a scare.

The Aztecs, in winning their third in a row, improved to 15-6, 7-3 in the Mountain West. The Falcons lost their fifth straight, falling to 10-13, and 3-9 in conference games.

Air Force dogged SDSU to start, led by A.J. Walker, who scored 17 in the first half. The team also contained Matt Bradley, holding him to just two points before the break.

Even so, SDSU closed the half up 37-33 thanks to Trey Pulliam, who put in a floater as time expired.

Bradley, though, was hobbled on two fronts – he had a gimpy left ankle after he slipped on the court nearing the eight-minute mark – and foul trouble that put him on the bench late in the period.

Nevertheless, the Aztecs jumped out to an 15-point lead following an 12-0 run after the break, including a Nathan Mensah dunk and a Bradley layup, though he noticeably favored the ankle.

The Falcons failed to score a basket for nearly seven minutes after a Walker hook shot to open the half, and the Aztec lead swelled to 18. Air Force sliced the advantage to nine late, but after a Bradley free throw, followed by a three-pointer with 1:30 left on the clock, SDSU locked in the double-digit lead.

With Bradley hurting, Mensah stepped up, leading the team with 14 points. Bradley came in just behind him with 13 and Keshad Johnson added 11. In addition, the Aztecs scored 25 off the bench.

“The beauty is we got contributions from everybody,” head coach Brian Dutcher told XTRA 1360.

He added that the team would wait until Sunday to see how Bradley’s ankle responds.

SDSU stays at home to face Utah State (15-11, 6-7 MW) at 7 p.m. Tuesday – the Aggies beat them 75-57 last month. The Aztecs then hit the road to take on Fresno State Saturday.