Terrell Gomez heads back up court after hitting a three-pointer to tie the game at 37 Saturday. Photo credit: Screen shot, @Aztec_MBB via Twitter

The bench stepped up for San Diego State in the absence of Matt Mitchell, but it wasn’t enough Saturday as Utah State took their second straight game from the Aztecs, 64-59.

The team lost its top scorer in Mitchell, who was injured late in the game Thursday, for the short term, but saw Terrell Gomez and Lamont Butler step up to fill the breach.

Jordan Schakel and Aguek Arop, though, found themselves in foul trouble early, and Nathan Mensah was not a factor. Coach Brian Dutcher said after the game that the altitude in Utah affected Mensah, who scored just three points.

With the win, Utah State (11-3, 8-0 in Mountain West) won its 10th straight game. San Diego State, though, fell to 9-4, and 3-3 in the conference.

SDSU’s second straight loss ended their streak of 48 games without consecutive losses, dating back to March 2019.

The Aztecs started slow, but roared to life at the end of the first half going on a 19-3 run to take a 10-point lead into the locker room.

Utah State though returned to the court in torrid fashion, tying the game at 34 after less than four minutes of play in second the half.

From that point on, the lead seesawed, and the teams tied six times. But with 4:32 to play, Utah State took the lead for good on two Steven Ashworth free throws.

San Diego State had its chances at the line, but made just seven of their 15 free-throw attempts. The Aggies hit 19 of 25.

“Honestly, we had to shoot free throws better,” Dutcher said.

Gomez scored 16 points, while Butler put in 13, while logging five steals. Ashworth had 17 for Utah State.

On the Mitchell injury front, it was mostly good news. According to the Associated Press, doctors did not find signs of any ligament tears, but he must rest the leg for two weeks.

CBS broadcasters also reported that the senior forward missed a game for the first time, not just in college, but dating back to his high school days and youth ball.

SDSU has nearly a week off before traveling to Colorado to play Air Force at 8 p.m. Friday.

– Staff reports

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