San Diego State won for the 14th straight time and beat a California rival for the 38th consecutive time. However, the Aztecs (15-1, 4-0 Mountain West Conference) trailed at halftime and didn't put away the Bulldogs (8-10, 1-4) until the latter stages of the contest.
The Aztecs trailed 46-44 before going on a 10-4 run over the next four minutes. The sequence featured a put-back basket by guard Winston Shepard and then a steal by forward JJ O'Brien. O'Brien rifled a pass to Shepard, who was credited with a bucket on a goaltending call for a 56-48 cushion.
San Diego State was clinging to a 62-56 edge, and it looked as if the margin would be cut to four points when Fresno State guard Marvelle Harris went up for a layup with about a minute remaining. However, the ball rolled off the rim, and Bulldogs forward Alex Davis was called for offensive interference when he tipped in the rebound.
Aztecs guard Xavier Thames scored a game-high 28 points, and Shepard added 17. The Bulldogs were paced by guard Tyler Johnson, who scored 24 points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. Harris finished with 11 points, but he hit just three of 12 shots from the field.
They started fast with a 9-2 run and appeared poised to put away Fresno State early. But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the route.
It also supplied a dose of confidence.
NOTES: Wednesday's crowd of 12,414 was the Aztecs' 31st consecutive regular-season sell out. ... San Diego State completes its two-game homestand against Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday. ... Fresno State senior G Tyler Johnson topped 1,000 points for his career. He finished the night with 1,003. ... The Indiana Pacers' Paul George, a former Fresno State star, will be honored Saturday when the Bulldogs host New Mexico. ... Fresno State last defeated a Top 10 team on March 10, 1984, when it beat then-No. 10 UNLV.