BYU held off a late challenge and Brandon Averette’s 3-pointer with 52 seconds to play gave the Cougars enough breathing room as BYU picked up a signature win, beating No. 18 San Diego State 72-62 at Viejas Arena in San Diego on Friday.
The Cougars (7-2) led by as many as 17 points in the second half before seeing their lead whittled away as San Diego State (5-1) tied the score at 61-61 with 1:56 to play, but BYU made six free throws in the final minute after Averette’s big shot — the Cougars scored the game’s final nine points — to earn the win.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
- The Cougars’ big three of Alex Barcello, Matt Haarms and Averette shined, and the trio got some key support from the bench. Barcello had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead BYU, while Haarms (10 points, eight rebounds, one blocked shot) and Averette (10 points, two rebounds two 3-pointers) also scored in double-figures. The Cougars outscored the Aztecs 22-11 in bench points — Spencer Johnson and Trevin Knell had eight each — and BYU had a 30-20 edge in points in the paint.
- Matt Mitchell sparked the Aztecs’ rally, as SDSU use a 14-0 run to make it 61-all with just under two minutes in regulation after BYU took a 61-47 lead with 5:20 to play. Mitchell had three 3-pointers and 12 of those 14 points in the run, and he finished with a game-high 35 points on 12 of 17 shooting, with five 3-pointers.
- BYU held San Diego State to 25% shooting in the first half as the Cougars went into the break with a 35-20 lead. The Cougars hit 51.9% of their shots in the first half, include five 3-pointers, while the Aztecs made just two 3s in the opening half. BYU shot 46.3% for the game, compared to 36.8% for San Diego State.