SAN DIEGO (AP) - Trey Kell scored six points in the final 1:19 to finish with 17 and fellow senior Malik Pope scored 16 to lead San Diego State to a 79-74 victory against No. 21 Nevada on Saturday night that gave the Aztecs the No. 5 seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The victory, coupled with Wyoming's loss at Boise State, means the Aztecs (19-10, 11-7) avoid a play-in game in Las Vegas on Wednesday and will instead start in the quarterfinals on Thursday. SDSU won its sixth straight game.
Jordan Caroline scored eight of Nevada's final 10 points in the last 3 minutes and finished with 29 for the Wolf Pack (26-6, 15-3), who had already clinched their second straight regular-season title and the No. 1 seed. The Wolf Pack's six-game winning streak was snapped, and they failed to tie SDSU's record of 16 conference wins in a season.
SDSU led by eight points with 3 minutes left after a layup by Pope, but Caroline hit a 3, a free throw and a put-back to pull the Wolf Pack to 72-70.
Kell made two free throws and then a big jumper for a 76-72 lead. Nevada's Caleb Martin turned the ball over with 16.8 seconds to go and Pope made one of two free throws. Martin made a bucket with 5 seconds left before Kell sealed it with two free throws.
SDSU 's other senior, Kameron Rooks, scored 12.
Caleb Martin scored 22 and Cody Martin had 13 for Nevada.
SDSU's three seniors had a hand in giving the Aztecs the lead for good. With the score tied at 40 after Caleb Martin buried a 3-pointer 2 minutes into the second half, Pope hit a jumper and Rooks a tip-in. After Jeremy Hemsley made one of two free throws, Kell hit a long 3 for a 48-42 lead with 15:46 to go.
Matt Mitchell and Pope hit 3s and redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels had a slam dunk off a pass from Kell to help the Aztecs to 63-54 lead.
San Diego State took a 36-34 halftime lead after a spirited first 20 minutes.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack gave the Aztecs everything they could handle despite playing only seven players. Nevada made only eight of 24 3-point attempts.
San Diego State: The Aztecs honored the three seniors before the game. Kell and Pope are the only two players left from their highly regarded recruiting class. Rooks was a graduate transfer from California.
Nevada has the top seed in the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas and will open play on Thursday.
San Diego State also begins MWC tourney play on Thursday.
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