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No. 21 Aztecs hold on to beat No. 16 Kansas 61-57

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 5, 2014 at 6:56 pm •  Published: January 5, 2014
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — It was so loud inside Allen Fieldhouse that San Diego State's players could barely hear what coach Steve Fisher was saying, yet they knew what the message would be as the timeout ended.

No matter the situation, it's always the same.

"He just tells you to think something positive, whether it's basketball, family, whatever. Think something positive," Xavier Thames said. "I think that really helps."

It sure seemed to settle down the Aztecs.

Thames scored 16 points, and calmly made four straight free throws in the closing seconds Sunday, helping No. 21 San Diego State knock off No. 16 Kansas 61-57, ending the Jayhawks' 68-game non-conference winning streak at their venerable on-campus arena.

Skylar Spencer added 13 points and Josh Davis had 10 for the Aztecs (12-1), who have won 11 straight since losing to No. 1 Arizona on Nov. 14. That streak is tied for the second-best in school history, trailing only the 20-0 start of the 2010-11 team.

"Our coach never gets rattled," San Diego State forward Winston Shepard said. "He's always even keeled, whether we're up 20 or it's a close game in here. After every timeout, he tell us to take a good thought out there."

Think happy thoughts? Why didn't those other 68 teams try that at the Phog?

Kansas (9-4) still had a chance to tie the game when Perry Ellis went to the free throw line with 11.9 seconds left. He made his first free throw but, after San Diego State called a timeout to ice him, Ellis missed the second and the Jayhawks were forced to foul.

Thames made both free throws to give San Diego State a three-point lead, and the Aztecs fouled rather than allow Kansas to attempt a tying 3. Frank Mason missed the first and made the second, and Thames made two more free throws with 4.6 seconds left to seal the win.

"This is a great win for us," Thames said. "A lot of teams don't come in here and get victories. I'm just blessed to be a part of this one."

Andrew Wiggins and Mason scored 14 points apiece for the Jayhawks, who had won 112 of their last 114 games at Allen Fieldhouse. Joel Embiid finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Jayhawks struggled against the long, lanky Aztecs right from the start, missing eight of their first nine shots and allowing San Diego State to dictate the tempo.

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