Aztecs Suffer Last-Second Loss

SDSU basketball team loses another game to a Pac-12 opponent

It’s never too early to start thinking about the NCAA Tournament. On the surface San Diego State’s 7-3 start to the basketball season looks pretty good. But when March rolls around those three losses will likely loom a lot larger than the seven wins.

The Aztecs lost a 63-62 decision to Cal on Saturday afternoon at Viejas Arena. It was their third game and third loss to a team from the Pac-12. SDSU is 7-0 against teams from the “non-power” conferences and if for some reason they don’t win the Mountain West Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that might come back to haunt them.

Forward Malik Pope had a game-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds for the Aztecs. Freshman Matt Mitchell followed with 13 points and six assists. Pope and Mitchell hit 12 of their 19 shots from the field but the rest of the roster was stone cold. Everyone not named Pope or Mitchell shot a combined 26% for the night.

Cal was trailing by one with less than a minute to play when Mitchell tried to drive to the middle but lost his footing and the ball. Golden Bears guard Juhwan Harris-Dyson picked it up and drove the length of the floor, drawing a foul on his way to the basket. Harris-Dyson made both free throws with 7.8 seconds left and Aztecs guard Jeremy Hemsley’s desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer was no good.

The Aztecs have one more shot at a signature win before MWC play begins. They host 12th-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday night with tipoff set for 7:00 p.m. A win in that game against the team that went to the National Championship game a year ago might make enough of a resume on its own.

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