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Thursday, March 17, 2011
Rapid Reaction: SD State 68, N. Colorado 50

By Ted Miller



TUCSON, Ariz. -- Northern Colorado was game, but it just didn't have enough to keep up with San Diego State for 40 minutes.

The second-seeded Aztecs asserted themselves in the second half and rolled to the program's first NCAA tournament victory with a 68-50 victory over the Bears in a West Regional second-round game.

The Aztecs believe this will be the first of many. Perhaps even many this month.

Turning point: A 3-pointer from Devon Beitzel cut San Diego State's lead to 35-32 with 16:03 remaining. Then the Aztecs asserted themselves with a 16-3 run over the next eight minutes and coasted home. The key player was guard James Rahon, who connected on three treys during the run.

Key player: When two players gets get double-doubles, things are good. Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while Billy White chipped in 14 points and 12 boards. Northern Colorado really didn't have anyone to match up with these two powerful players.

Key stat: Northern Colorado needed to hit 3s to win, but San Diego State connected on 9-of-23 (39.1 percent) from behind the arc, while the Bears were just 8-of-22 (36.4 percent).

Miscellaneous: The Aztecs had 15 offensive rebounds compared to nine for the Bears, and won the overall battle on the boards 45-33. ... San Diego State had just four turnovers, so just five points from point guard D.J. Gay certainly doesn't tell the story. ... San Diego State had 14 second-chance points; Northern Colorado had just five.

What's next: Second-seeded San Diego State advances to take on No. 7 Temple, which beat Penn State 66-64, on Saturday.