Mensah, No. 22 Aztecs beat Boise State 72-52 for MWC lead
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
By BERNIE WILSON
AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO (AP) Nathan Mensah scored 17 points as No. 22 San Diego State raced past Boise State 72-52 Friday night in a showdown of the Mountain West Conference's top two teams despite an off night by Aztecs' leading scorers Matt Bradley and Darrion Trammell.
Keshad Johnson added 10 for SDSU (18-5, 9-2), which regained sole possession of first place. Bradley came in leading the Aztecs at 13.2 points per game but didn't score until making a jumper with 9:16 to play, finishing with three points. Trammell came in averaging 11.1 and didn't score until making a shot earlier in the second half, finishing with four.
Max Rice scored 16 for Boise State (18-6, 8-3), which was without its leading ballhandler, point guard Marcus Shaver Jr., who was out with a high ankle sprain. Shaver had a walking boot on his right foot.
BSU beat SDSU three times last year, including in championship game of the conference tournament.
The Aztecs raced to a 43-21 halftime lead despite getting zero points from Bradley and Trammell. Mensah led the way with 12 points and Adam Seiko had nine.
Mensah had six points during a 14-0 run that carried the Aztecs to a 29-10 lead with 5:47 left before halftime. Seiko made two 3-pointers, including a 27-footer to cap the run. An SDSU team manager was whistled for a technical for putting his thumb and pinkie up to his ear near the scorer's table as if to say, "Dial up a 3," and BSU's Max Rice made both free throws.
The combination of SDSU's defense and the absence of Shaver was too much for the Broncos. BSU shot only 33.3% in the first half and was called for a 10-second violation late in the first half. The Aztecs blocked three shots in the first 20 minutes, two by Aguek Arop and one by Mensah.
Mensah blocked a shot with three minutes left that set up a slam dunk by Johnson on an alley-oop pass from Seiko for a 70-50 lead.
BSU shot only 36.5% from the field, while SDSU shot 51%.
Boise State: The Broncos clearly missed Shaver, who besides being third on the team in scoring at 13.2 points was leading the Broncos with 6.3 rebounds and had a team-high 79 assists.
San Diego State: It'll be touch-and-go whether the Aztecs remain in the AP Top 25. After popping back into the poll on Monday, the Aztecs lost 75-66 at Nevada on Tuesday night.
Boise State hosts Wyoming a week from Saturday night.
SDSU visits Utah State on Wednesday night.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated February 3, 2023