- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - It’s generally a given that San Diego State is going to bring the defense, but when the Aztecs are shooting the ball well, it’s a recipe for a rout.

New Mexico found that out the hard way Tuesday night, coughing up 20 turnovers to relentless San Diego State pressure, frequently settling for poor shots and turning in its worst shooting night of the season as the Aztecs romped to an 83-56 win.

Malik Pope, who finished with a game-high 20 points for San Diego State, credited assistant coach Justin Huston and guard Dakarai Allen with serving up the defense mindset.

“Justin was great on that,” Pope said. “He told us try not to let him get the ball. Besides him, c’mon, Dakarai Allen on Elijah Brown, that was crazy. Elijah Brown is a really good player and Dakarai literally did everything he could to hold him to what he did. That was incredible.”

Brown finished with 18 points, but was 2 of 14 from the field and had six turnovers.

Inside, Pope and company limited New Mexico’s Tim Williams to 11 points, but he didn’t take his first official shot until the second half.

“We’ve got size, were big, we’re athletic,” San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. “Our goal was not to let him get the ball. Don’t let him get the ball. That’s easy to say, hard to do. When they went high-low, we said, ‘Pressure the ball at the high post. Don’t let them find him and see him.’ We wanted to double inside when we could and I thought we did a nice job doing what we tried to do.”

The Aztecs (22-8, 15-2) won their fourth straight in the series. New Mexico’s (16-14, 9-8) lost its fourth in a row.

San Diego State had runs of 16-0 and 12-1 in the first half, and went on a 27-6 spurt to end the game.

The second first-half run turned a 21-20 deficit into a 32-22 lead and New Mexico would not get closer than six the rest of the way.

Matt Shrigley was ejected at the 9:29 mark when he smacked Brown across the face after a steal and drive to the basket. Brown converted all four foul shots to pull the Lobos within 56-50, but San Diego State responded with the game-ending surge.

New Mexico went 14 for 39 from the field while the Aztecs shot 55 percent from the field and finished 9 for 15 on 3s.

Trey Kell added 15 points for the Aztecs, including hitting 3 of 4 on 3-pointers and Allen had 11.

The 20 New Mexico turnovers equaled a season-high and led to 31 San Diego State points. The Aztecs also outscored New Mexico 30-16 in the paint while earning a 29-23 rebounding advantage.

“What usually bites us and what we haven’t learned is you can’t give up 31 points on turnovers and you can’t take bad shots which leads into fast-break points for a really good team,” Lobos coach Craig Neal said.

TIP INS:

San Diego State: The Aztecs set a conference record with their eighth road win of the season.

New Mexico: Tim Williams, New Mexico’s second leading scorer, didn’t attempt his first shot until the 13:38 mark of the second half when he laid one in off the glass. The Lobos honored three seniors - Michael Nesbitt, Connor Joy and Tim Jacobs in a post-game ceremony.

UP NEXT:

San Diego State is home Saturday against UNLV.

New Mexico finishes the regular season Saturday at Nevada.

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