Matt Mitchell scores off a pass from Yanni Wetzell to extend San Diego State’s lead. Photo credit: Screenshot, via @Aztec_MBB

San Diego State had to earn their record, but earn it they did Sunday as they withstood a late push by UNLV in Las Vegas to win 71-67.

The team now stands alone with the longest winning streak in SDSU basketball history, as they won their 21st straight game to begin the season. 

That exceeds the 20-win streaks of the 2010-11 and 2013-14 teams. Each of those squads, including the earlier team that starred Kawhi Leonard, made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

They continue as the sole remaining undefeated team in the country. The streak has lifted the Aztecs to a No. 4 national ranking  and, with 10 conference wins, a seat atop the Mountain West.

Before the season, prognosticators projected a second-place conference finish for SDSU.

Coach Brian Dutcher told XTRA 1360 after the game, “this is a fun Aztec team to watch, a fun Aztec team to coach.” 

UNLV gave San Diego State its biggest scare since they needed Malachi Flynn’s late shot to beat San Jose State in December.

The Runnin’ Rebels came within three points of the lead in the first half. The Aztecs ended the period though with a 34-28 lead, on Trey Pulliam’s buzzer-beater.

After the break, UNLV took two leads before going cold. The team failed to score a field goal for more than seven minutes until Bryce Hamilton broke through with a three.

UNLV, though, scrappy to the end, scored 20 points over the final four-and-half minutes. But their last-second 3-pointer only drew the Rebels within four.

Hamilton led all scorers with 29 points. Flynn topped the Aztecs with 21, followed by Pulliam with 18.

San Diego State continued its dominant performances in Las Vegas. In the last 12 years, no Division I team has won more road games against one opponent than the Aztecs’ tally of 14 over UNLV.

SDSU remains on the road, playing New Mexico at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

– Staff reports

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