Jimmer Fredette scored 25 points and Charles Abouo added 18 as No. 7 BYU spoiled the biggest game in No. 6 San Diego State's history, running away with an 80-67 victory Saturday to take a one-game lead in the Mountain West Conference.
The Cougars (27-2, 13-1) swept the season series against the Aztecs (27-2, 12-2). The second loss came in one of the most eagerly anticipated games in this city's history. It was SDSU's first loss in 14 games this season at Viejas Arena. BYU also swept both games last season.
As was the case a month ago in Provo, it was just too much Fredette. The Aztecs couldn't stop the star guard even by rotating three players on him defensively. Fredette not only led four Cougars in double figures, but he had a game-high nine assists.
The Cougars dominated inside and outside.
SDSU's only lead was 2-0 on Kawhi Leonard's fallaway jumper after the Aztecs controlled the opening tipoff.
Fredette, who scored 43 points in BYU's 71-58 win over the Aztecs last month, helped the Cougars take control after SDSU pulled to 47-44 on James Rahon's 3-pointer with just over 13 minutes to play. Fredette made a 3-pointer and converted two three-point plays, and Jackson Emery made two 3-pointers as BYU took its biggest lead, 67-54, with 8:15 left.
Noah Hartsock had 15 points for BYU and Emery added 13.
BYU made 14 of 24 3-point shots, including four each by Fredette and Abouo. SDSU only made six of 17 from behind the arc.
Leonard had 17 points and 13 rebounds for his 20th double-double this season and 37th of his career. Chase Tapley had 11 points and Billy White and Rahon had 10 apiece. Guard D.J. Gay was held to six points and forward Malcolm Thomas to nine. Thomas missed seven of 10 shots.
Every time SDSU pulled within three points, either the Cougars answered or the Aztecs couldn't get closer.
SDSU pulled to 38-35 late in the first half, then missed two field goal attempts and two free throws in the opening minutes of the second half.
After Rahon's 3 cut the BYU lead to 47-44, Fredette answered with a 3, and that's when he and the Cougars began to put it away. Fredette fed Emery for a layup and then converted a three-point play, and just like that, the Cougars were up by nine. D.J. Gay responded with a 3 for SDSU, only to have Emery hit a 3-pointer.
Stephen Rogers made a 3-pointer for BYU, Fredette had a three-point play and Emery made a 3-pointer for the 67-54 lead.
BYU also had a double-digit lead in the first half, 32-20 after two 3-pointers from Fredette and two from Hartsock.
SDSU pulled back into the game as White twice made consecutive shots. After a miss by Fredette with just more than a minute left before halftime, SDSU got the rebound and White had a slam dunk. The Aztecs came up with a steal and White made a bank shot. The Aztecs played for the last shot but Gay missed a 3-pointer a few seconds before the buzzer that would have tied it, leaving the score 38-35 at halftime.