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Thomas helps San Diego State hold off Utah 70-68

Posted - Jan. 19, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Malcolm Thomas scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to help San Diego State outlast Utah 70-68 on Tuesday night.

Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Kelvin Davis added 10 points as the Aztecs (14-5, 3-2 Mountain West) overcame late free throw shooting woes and watched with relief as Carlon Brown's desperate 3-pointer clanged off the rim at the buzzer.

Brown scored 18 points, Luka Drca had 15 and Marshall Henderson added 14 for the Utes (9-9, 1-2), who trimmed a 12-point lead to 69-68 but didn't have enough time to get an open shot at the end.

The Aztecs made just 5 of 11 free throws in the final two minutes and were 10 of 23 for the game. Still, San Diego State recorded only its third win in 33 tries against Utah in Salt Lake City.

Despite giving up 6 inches to 7-foot-3 David Foster, Thomas made 10 of 17 shots to help the Aztecs dominate Utah with a 36-18 advantage in points in the paint.

San Diego State, which has matched its best record at this point in the season in the last quarter-century, has won two in a row after dropping back-to-back games.

Sandwiched around two missed free throws by Tyrone Shelley, Drca made a 3-pointer and Brown converted a shot in the lane to draw within 69-68 with 5.1 seconds left.

The Utes immediately fouled D.J. Gay, who made one of two foul shots. Utah inbounded to Brown, who raced down the side of the court and tossed up a 33-footer against pressure that drew iron but bounced away.

Trailing 45-33 early in the second half, Drca scored seven of Utah's 10 consecutive points as the Utes closed within 45-43 with 12:15 to play.

But the Aztecs responded with a 9-1 run, highlighted by an emphatic dunk by Thomas, and Utah never got closer than five until the final minute. San Diego State outrebounded Utah 44-37.

Utah went for more than six minutes without a point in the first half as its 15-11 lead became a 24-15 Aztecs advantage.

San Diego State held Utah to 23 percent shooting in the first half while connecting on 55 percent of its own shots and leading 37-29 at the break.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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