The No. 4 seed San Diego State Aztecs survived an upset bid from No. 13 seed New Mexico State on Thursday night in Spokane, holding on for a 73-69 overtime victory.
The game, which was the last to start and finish on a busy first full day of March Madness, set an NCAA tournament record as the fourth overtime contest of the day, the most in a single day in tournament history.
With the win, the Aztecs (30-4) advance to the West Region third round where they’ll face No. 12 seed North Dakota State on Saturday.
San Diego State never trailed in the game, and used their trademark suffocating defensive pressure to enter halftime with a 12-point lead.
New Mexico State (26-10) struggled to find any open looks in the first half, shooting a dismal 8-of-26 from the field, and coming out for the second half, it appeared as though the Aggies were going to be run off the court.
The Aztecs led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but New Mexico State kept chipping away, staying within striking distance and not allowing San Diego State to bury them.
The Aggies used a 14-4 run in the closing seconds of the second half, capped off by a stunning triple from senior-guard Kevin Aronis with just five ticks left, to send the game to overtime.
But it was there that the magic ran out.
San Diego State outscored New Mexico State 13-9 in the extra frame to survive.
The Aztecs were led by their senior leader Xavier Thames with 23 points.
New Mexico State was led by Daniel Mullings with 18 points.
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