Two Top-15 teams, the two best teams in the Mountain West Conference, met in Las Vegas Saturday and had themselves a good, old-fashioned nailbiter. The No. 13 San Diego State Aztecs were winning in the final minutes, but a Mike Moser steal led to an Anthony Marshall layup with 37 seconds left in the game put the No. 14 UNLV Rebels ahead for good. They would hold on, thanks to a last-second steal by Justin Hawkins, to win 65-63.
Moser is the Rebs' best player, and he showed why he is a leading candidate for Mountain West Player of the Year, finishing with a box-score-filling 19 points, nine rebounds, six steals and four blocks, with only one turnover. Marshall scored the winning bucket, but played the facilitator to perfection in the 39 minutes, 23 seconds before that. He finished with eight assists, only one turnover and six rebounds in the win.
The Aztecs played their hearts out and almost took home a win against a raucous Vegas crowd. They were led by their star, Chase Tapley, who scored 22 in the loss. Tapley was complemented nicely by his backcourt mates Jamaal Franklin, who scored 15 with seven rebounds, and Xavier Thames, who had eight assists and six boards. They fell into a tie with the Rebels for 6-2 in the conference.