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Aztecs use strong second half to handle Cowboys



Kawhi Leonard and the San Diego State Aztecs avenged themselves tonight with a 88-57 victory over the Wyoming Cowboys. This was very close game in the first half as the Cowboys showed up ready to play but the Aztecs pulled away easily in the second half.

Leonard led all scorers with 26 points and was one of five Aztecs to reach double figures. San Diego State improves to 17-7 and 7-4 in Mountain West play. SDSU and Colorado State are now tied in Mountain West play and battling it out for the #4 spot behind BYU, New Mexico and UNLV. The Cowboys hung tough in the first half but minutes 21-40 belonged completely to the Aztecs. After 39-31 halftime lead the Aztecs were dominate outscoring Wyoming 49-26 down the stretch.

Using a combination of strong rebounding and hot shooting the Aztecs made things look easy in the second half. A 42-28 rebounding advantage helped San Diego State limit any second chance points from Wyoming. As team the Aztecs hit 52% of their shots compared to just 39% for the Cowboys. San Diego State was able to turn 20 Cowboy turnovers into 30 points. Chase Tapley had 14 points and 6 assists with 12 points coming in the second half.

The Cowboys (9-15, 2-8) may take some heart in the fact that they played tough basketball for the first 15 minutes but that wasn't enough to escape their fourth loss in a row and worst streak of the season. The Cowboys are losers of seven of their last eight and have been one of the most disappointing teams in the Mountain West this season. Djinril Thiam and Desmar Jackson were the most effective weapons on offense tonight. Thiam had his best performance in a month with 15 points and 4 rebounds on 7/8 shooting. Desmar Jackson added 14 points but turnovers soured his performance. Jackson and Jaydee Luster had six turnovers each and kept the Cowboys from sticking with the Aztecs. Free throw shooting was again a struggle as the team hit 13 of 24.

Next up for San Diego State the Aztecs will look to gain ground the UNLV Rebels whom they host on Saturday. Wyoming wil try their luck against TCU when the Horned Frogs head to Laramie for a weekend contest.

AWARDS

Cowboy Joe: Djibril Thiam was very effective hitting 7 of 8 shots for 15 points.

Cowboy Low: Daylen Harrison had the opportunity to start but went 0-7 from the the field in 27 minutes. Had three points total all coming from free throws.

Cowboy Foe: Kawhi Leonard is making quite a case for Mountain West Freshman of the Year.