SAN DIEGO (AP) — Alex Barcello scored 22 points and Brandon Averette hit a huge 3-pointer with 51 seconds left for BYU, which blew a 17-point lead before beating No. 18 San Diego State 72-62 on Friday despite Matt Mitchell’s career-high 35 points.
Mitchell was remarkable in scoring 26 points in the second half. He spurred a 14-0 run with three 3-pointers and then had a steal and dunk that tied it 61.
But BYU (7-2) regained control and handed San Diego State (5-1) its first loss. The Aztecs won their first 26 games last season and were the nation’s last undefeated team en route to a 30-2 record.
After Matt Haarms made a baseline jumper for a 63-61 BYU lead, Mitchell made one of two free throws. Averette then hit a 3 from straight on to put BYU up 66-62 with 51 seconds left.
Barcello made four free throws in the last 35 seconds, sandwiched around a missed 3 by Mitchell, and Connor Harding made two free throws for the Cougars, who had a 40-26 rebounding edge.
Haarms and Averette scored 10 points apiece.
Jordan Schakel had only three points on 1-of-9 shooting after scoring a career-high 25 points in an 80-68 win at Arizona State on Dec. 10.
BYU’s biggest lead was 35-18 late in the first half before Mitchell made two free throws to make it 35-20 at halftime. SDSU shot just 25 percent and had eight turnovers in the first 20 minutes. Schakel had no points and missed his only two shots.
BYU: The Cougars used an impressive half-court offense in staying ahead of the Aztecs in the second half. Late in the first half, they got consecutive 3-pointers from Spencer Johnson and Barcello. The Cougars lead the series 49-25.
San Diego State: The Aztecs couldn’t handle BYU’s size early. They shot only 25% and had eight turnovers in the first half.
BYU: Hosts Texas Southern on Monday night.
San Diego State: Faces Saint Mary’s at Cal Poly SLO on Tuesday.