Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament

SDSU Alumni Association Lifetime Member Derek Magnuson ('07) at the March 10 Aztec pre-game party in Las Vegas.
Derek Magnuson (’07) had followed the SDSU men’s basketball team on the Internet all year, but had not seen the team play in person.  He traveled to Las Vegas from his home near Sacramento to catch the Aztecs in their first game of the 2011 Mountain West Conference Tournament on Thursday.

“I’m excited,’ Magnuson said. “I wanted to actually come down and see the team live and see how well they’re playing and be here with everybody else – all the supporters and alumni.”

Magnuson was among the more than 200 SDSU alumni and fans who gathered for a pre-game party at the Thomas and Mack Center.  They were treated to appearances by the Aztec Pep Band, cheer squad, dance team and the Aztec Warrior.  Radio announcer and “Voice of the Aztecs,”Ted Leitner, also spoke to the crowd.  

Las Vegas resident Violeta Tomacruz ('98) at the March 10 Aztec pre-game party at the Thomas and Mack Center.
Las Vegas resident Violeta Tomacruz (’98) said she was happy to be among so many fellow Aztecs in town supporting the team.

“This is actually my first time in Las Vegas to be in a group of alumni like this,” she said, so this is exciting for me.”

Tomacruz said she was at the game when the Aztecs played the Rebels at UNLV earlier this season.

“I was crazy (with excitement) when I saw that game here last time,” she said. “I still get goose bumps” just thinking about it.


(l-r) Matt and Stephen Stinebaugh ('96) believe in more tournament wins for the Aztecs.
Brothers Matt and Stephen Stinebaugh (’96) traveled from La Mesa and Irvine, respectively, to catch the first-round game.

Both reflected on the team’s successful season and the possibility of the Aztec men winning their first game ever in the NCAA Tournament – and maybe more.

“It’s a miracle,” Matt Stinebaugh said of the team’s best-in-school-history 30 – 2 record.“This whole season is just incredible.”

Stephen Stinebaugh, attending his first Mountain West Conference Tournament, said he hopes the wins keep coming after the Aztecs leave Las Vegas.

“I’d like to see us in the ‘Sweet Sixteen,’ minimum, Stephen Stinebaugh said. “If we get to the “Sweet Sixteen” it kind of validates our season and then everything past there - if we can get to the ‘Elite Eight’ and the ‘Final Four’ – we want to win it all!”

For now, though, the Aztecs are working to win a conference tournament championship. The team got off to a good start with a 64 – 50 win over Utah Thursday. Then the Aztecs dispatched UNLV in the tournament semifinal Friday, 74 - 72.  Saturday, SDSU plays BYU for the conference championship.