SAN DIEGO (AP) — Matt Mitchell scored 24 points, including four in overtime, and No. 22 San Diego State overcame 29 points by Derrick Alston Jr. to beat Boise State 78-66 on Thursday night for its ninth straight win.
Trey Pulliam matched his career high with 18 for SDSU, which blew a 17-point second-half lead before recovering in overtime to take the inside track to repeat as Mountain West Conference regular-season champion.
SDSU (18-4, 12-3) took a half-game lead over Boise State (18-5, 14-4), which had its four-game win streak snapped. On Tuesday, the Mountain West awarded San Diego State a pair of forfeit victories over New Mexico. Those games do not count in SDSU’s overall or formal conference record, but will count for seeding and conference championship implications.
That means the Aztecs control their own destiny. They host BSU again on Saturday and then finish with a rescheduled game at UNLV on Wednesday night.
Alston scored 22 points in the second half, including seven straight at one point, to help bring the Broncos back from a 17-point deficit. BSU used a 14-0 run to pull to 52-51, getting three 3-pointers from Emmanuel Akot and a 3 from Alston.
After Abu Kigab missed two straight inside shots, Alston hit a step-back 3 to tie it at 58 with 1:39 to go.
Mitchell converted a three-point play for a 61-58 lead and then hit two free throws with 27 seconds left for a 63-60 lead. RayJ Dennis hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 9.3 seconds left.
Mitchell was called for a charge and the game went to overtime. Mitchell made two shots sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Jordan Schakel, and BSU never recovered.
The Aztecs fattened up on the conference's second-tier teams during their winning streak and then came out strong against the Broncos.
SDSU put on a defensive clinic in the first half, forcing 12 turnovers while BSU went just 3 of 17 on 3-pointers.
Pulliam had 11 points in the first 20 minutes, including a jumper off a rebound at the buzzer for a 29-17 lead.
Boise State: The Broncos are 8-57 all-time against Top 25 opponents, including 3-32 under coach Leon Rice. One of those victories came at Viejas Arena on Feb. 28, 2015, 56-46 against No. 24 SDSU.
San Diego State: The Aztecs are playing for their eighth regular-season MWC title. They won the championship last year en route to a 30-2 overall record. They were expecting a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The teams finish their two-game series on Saturday afternoon.
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