Kawhi Leonard tallied 21 points and 11 rebounds and San Diego State
pulled away in the second half to win its first-ever NCAA tournament
game, 68-50, over Northern Colorado in a second-round matchup Thursday
in Tucson, Ariz.
Billy White recorded his second double-double with 12 points and 13
rebounds and Chase Tapley added 14 points for the second-seeded Aztecs
(33-2), who face seventh-seeded Temple in a third-round West Regional
game Saturday. The Owls beat No. 10 seed Penn State, 66-64, on Thursday.
Devon Beitzel scored a game-high 25 points, including six
3-pointers, to pace No. 15 seed Northern Colorado (21-11), which
trailed 30-24 at the half. Chris Kaba scored 10 points and Elliott
Lloyd added nine, while Taylor Montgomery grabbed a team-high 12
Beitzel’s back-to-back 3-pointers brought the Bears within three with
14:16 left, but San Diego State quickly took control of the game with a
21-6 run. James Rahon (12 points) scored eight straight points during
the run, including two 3-pointers.
The Aztecs outrebounded Northern Colorado 42-30 and committed just
three turnovers. D.J. Gay and Malcolm Thomas, who together average 22.7
points, finished with a combined nine points on 4-of-17 shooting.
In just their fourth year of NCAA Division I postseason eligibility,
Northern Colorado earned its first NCAA tournament bid after winning
the Big Sky championship game.