LAS VEGAS – Jordan Schakel scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half as No. 5 San Diego State rallied for a 73-60 win over Air Force in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament on Thursday.
Schakel, who shot 1-of-5 in the first half, hit four 3-pointers in the second half for the top-seeded Aztecs (29-1), who rode a 21-3 run to their 13th consecutive quarterfinal victory.
Yanni Wetzell and Malachi Flynn had 16 points each for San Diego State, which is hoping to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After surviving the scare from Air Force, SDSU plays the winner of Boise State-UNLV in the semifinals.
AJ Walker scored 18 points for Air Force (12-20), which advanced off a 77-70 win against Fresno State on Wednesday.
Air Force shot 60% in the first half but just 27.3% in the second, opening the door for the Aztecs.
Air Force took a 44-39 lead on Caleb Morris’ 3-pointer. Schakel then hit back-to-back 3s that gave San Diego State its first lead since early in the first half.
Matt Mitchell hit San Diego State’s fifth 3 of the half for a 60-47 lead with 7:05 remaining.
Schakel hit his fourth 3 with 1:29 remaining to make it 71-60.
Walker, who averaged 10.9 points during the regular season, scored 14 points in the first half. His 3-pointer with 39.2 seconds remaining preserved a 37-33 halftime lead for Air Force.
San Diego State went 1-of-6 to begin the game, but responded by making 6 of 7 to take a 19-17 lead on a 3-pointer from Adam Seiko.
The Falcons made four of their seven 3s in the final 10 minutes of the first half.