San Diego State turned back a challenge to their position atop the conference Friday, easily outpacing Boise State 72-52 at Viejas Arena.
With the win, SDSU (18-5, 9-2 MW) again stands alone in first place in the Mountain West, after dispatching the Broncos (18-6, 8-3 MW), who were short a key hand, guard Marcus Shavers, due to an injured ankle.
The Aztec onslaught began in a runaway opening half in which Nathan Mensah scored 12 points and Adam Seiko added nine, as the defense forced nine Boise State turnovers.
After a 6-6 tie five minutes into the game, SDSU went ahead on a Seiko three-pointer and later, with a jumper by Mensah, they had their first double-digit lead, 21-10. They extended it to 19 on another three by Seiko with under six minutes to go.
Boise State’s Lukas Milner dunked to cut the advantage to 16 nearing the break, but San Diego State scored six points in the final minute of the half to establish a 22-point lead, capped by a Mensah layup with two seconds left.
The Broncos found little traction upon their return to the court, trailing by as many as 25, but they again pulled within 16 with 4:29 left thanks to a Max Rice layup – and SDSU has seen recent big second-half leads dwindle. Boise State, however, drew no closer.
“We wanted to play 40 minutes and I thought we did tonight,” head coach Brian Dutcher told San Diego Sports 760
“We just made sure,” Darrion Trammell added, also to Sports 760, “We cannot let up.”
Mensah finished with 17, adding six rebounds and two blocks, in a game that followed a team meeting in which the forward, Trammell said stepped up and said he needed to produce more.
“He definitely showed it tonight,” Trammell said.
The Aztecs return to the road to face Utah State (18-5, 7-3 MW) at 7 p.m Wednesday. SDSU won their contest at Viejas, but Logan, where they’ve lost three straight, is a different story.
“We have to pick one of these up,” Dutcher told Sports 760 of SDSU’s three daunting road challenges – they see Boise State again on their turf and New Mexico too – this month.