Matt Mitchell scored a career-high 35 Friday in a losing effort against BYU. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan, via goaztecs.com

San Diego State rode a 35-point performance from Matt Mitchell to nearly overtake BYU Friday at home, but they couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 72-62.

Mitchell tied the game at 61 with a steal and fast break capped by a slam dunk with just under two minutes to go in the game.

The shot ended a 14-0 run by the Aztecs, but they only scored one more point, on a Mitchell free throw. The Cougars’ Brandon Averette made a 3-point jumper with 52 seconds to go, to put BYU up 66-62.

Moments later, Jordan Schakel slipped, causing him to travel, a miscue that sealed San Diego State’s fate as BYU made six free throws to close the game.

SDSU (5-1), ranked nationally at No. 18 in the Associated Press poll and No. 20 in the Coaches Poll, suffered their first loss of the season.

San Diego State had a remarkable 26-0 run last season. The Aztecs didn’t lose their first game until Feb. 22.

“I’m proud of Matt’s effort, but we didn’t get a win, so it’s kind of all for naught,” coach Brian Dutcher told 97.3 The Fan after the game.

BYU, though unranked, improved to 7-2.

Mitchell, with his career-high 35 – his previous high, 31, came in 2017 against Eastern Illinois) – led a cold team.

Nathan Mensah scored eight and Adam Seiko added six, but the Aztecs shot just 37%. Outside of their senior forward though, that fell sharply – the rest of the team made just nine of 40 shots.

Schakel, coming off his own career-high performance, only scored three, as did Trey Pulliam. SDSU, down 35-20 at the half, fell behind by as many as 17.

Alex Barcello led BYU with 22 points, followed by Averette and Matt Haarms with 10 each.

San Diego State hits the road for its last game of the year at 6 p.m. Tuesday, at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to play St. Mary’s (7-1).

–  Staff reports

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