San Diego State, facing their first major Mountain West challenge, controlled an impressive Utah State team, winning 77-68 to maintain their perfect record for the season.
The Aztecs’ last loss came against the Aggies to close their 2018-19 season at the Mountain West tournament. Utah State earned the MW automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, losing in the first round to Washington.
SDSU, now ranked at No. 13 in the nation while enjoying one of the best runs in program history, improved to 15-0 and 4-0 in conference play.
Utah State at 13-4, took their first loss in the Mountain West to slip to 2-2 in the conference. San Diego State holds the conference lead over Nevada and UNLV.
— San Diego State Men’s Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) January 5, 2020
The Aggies. known for their comebacks – particularly in overcoming a 19-point deficit to set aside LSU in November – threatened at numerous points in the game. That included a 12-3 run in the second half.
SDSU, though, repelled the attacks again and again as Malachi Flynn, despite early foul trouble, led Aztec scorers with 22. Matt Mitchell followed with 19 and added seven rebounds.
Utah State’s Sam Merrill, last year’s Mountain West Player of the Year, led all scorers with 26.
Mitchell described the Aztecs’ play as “aggressive,” while coach Brian Dutcher told XTRA 1360 the win was “a great team effort.”
SDSU remains on the road, traveling to Wyoming for a 6 p.m. Wednesday contest. The Aztecs and Aggies meet again Feb. 1 at Viejas Arena.
Coach Dutcher with @TedLeitner:
“Number one word on the board was trust, trust yourself, trust your teammates, trust your coaches and we’re gonna have good results.”
TRUST that these Aztecs are FOR REAL. pic.twitter.com/nsOZBx2s6k
— XTRA1360 (@XTRA1360) January 5, 2020
– Staff reports