Matt Mitchell, who led the Aztecs with 20 points against Nevada Thursday. Photo credit: Colleen Hume, go aztecs.com

Nevada played San Diego State tight Thursday, but the Aztecs, led by Matt Mitchell’s second-half surge, prevailed 65-60.

Jordan Schakel snatched back the lead for SDSU (8-2, 2-1 in Mountain West), hitting a three-pointer with just over two minutes to play to put the Aztecs ahead for good, 61-60.

“If Jordan misses that big shot, who knows how the game turns out?” coach Brian Dutcher asked after the game.

Schakel’s shot followed a seesaw second half, but Mitchell kept SDSU in the game. He had 20 points overall, but 18 of them came after the half.

Mitchell, who also recorded his second career double-double, hit nine of 10 free throws in the half, while San Diego State made 19 of 22 for the game.

“We needed every one of those,” Dutcher said.

Both teams suffered a scoring drought late in first half, then Nevada’s Grant Sherfield hit two threes to bring the Wolf Pack to within two at 30-28.

But his teammate Warren Washington missed two last-second free throws, after a foul by Joshua Tomaic with less than a second on the clock, sending SDSU to the locker room up 32-28.

Nathan Mensah led the Aztecs at the half with 11 points.

Nevada scored the first five points to open the second half, going up 33-32, but Mitchell put his Aztecs back up on a fadeaway jumper.

SDSU held seven-point leads at times in the half, but Nevada also tied the game four times. The Wolf Pack followed the final tie by taking the lead with 2:16 to play after Mitchell fouled Sherfield, who made both free throws. Then Schackel hit his three to swing the game back to the Aztecs.

San Diego State played its third game since Saturday, with another to come against Nevada (8-4, 3-2) on the weekend.

“No question we’re tired,” said Dutcher, who added that he’s leaning toward keeping the team off the court on Friday for some rest.

The Aztecs’ next game, at home at 6 p.m. Saturday, will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

– Staff reports

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