SAN DIEGO (AP) — Malachi Flynn scored 18 points and Yanni Wetzell dominated inside with 14 points for No. 4 San Diego State, which used a suffocating defense to beat Wyoming 72-55 Tuesday night and match the best start in school history at 20-0.
The Aztecs (20-0, 9-0 Mountain West), the nation’s only unbeaten team, equaled the 20-0 start by the 2010-11 team led by Kawhi Leonard. That team reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history before finishing 34-3.
SDSU also matched the longest winning streak in school history, set with that opening run in 2010-11 and matched by the 2013-14 team, which also reached the Sweet 16.
Matt Mitchell scored 15 and Jordan Schakel 11 for SDSU.
Jake Hendricks scored 20 for Wyoming (5-16, 0-9), which lost its seventh straight game.
The Aztecs played tight defense from the start, sparking an offensive outburst that gave them a 20-9 lead. Flynn and Mitchell hit early 3-pointers and Flynn stole the ball for a coast-to-coast slam dunk. Mitchell had a three-point play and a 3-point shot.
Coach Brian Dutcher rested four starters midway through the first half, allowing Wyoming to close to 20-15 after Hendricks scored nine straight points, making two 3-pointers and making three free throws after he was fouled taking a shot from behind the arc.
With all five starters back in after a timeout, SDSU went on an 11-2 run to pull away. Flynn started it with a step-back jumper and Wetzell had three layups, including one after a steal by Flynn. Jordan Schakel added a 3.
SDSU led 32-19 at halftime.
Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of basketball and Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky’s athletic director and vice chair of the Division I men’s basketball committee, attended the game. They are in Southern California for the NCAA convention, “so we saw this as a great opportunity to come down and see the Aztecs,” Gavitt said at halftime. “I’ve watched them about five times on TV this season, but it’s great to get to see them in person.
“Obviously, they have a great defense, but I’ve been impressed with their offense in the first half tonight. They have great ball handlers who do a good job of getting the ball inside to Wetzell.”
SDSU started the day at No. 2 in the NCAA NET Rankings, which replaced RPI as the primary method for NCAA Tournament seeding. ESPN.com projects the Aztecs as the No. 1 seed in the East Region and CBSSports.com has them as No. 1 in the Midwest.
SDSU moved up three spots to No. 4 in The Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, matching the highest position in school history. The Aztecs were No. 4 briefly in 2011 before their 20-game winning streak ended with a loss at BYU, and they dropped to No. 7.
Wyoming: The Cowboys are last in the MWC. They were swept by SDSU in the season series. SDSU beat them 72-52 in Laramie on Jan. 8.
San Diego State: The Aztecs remain without center Nathan Mensah, who missed his seventh straight game with a respiratory ailment.
Wyoming hosts Utah State next Tuesday.
San Diego State is at UNLV on Sunday.
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