AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP)KJ Feagin scored 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and No. 4 San Diego State remained the nation’s lone unbeaten team by beating Air Force 89-74 Saturday night.
Jordan Schakel had 18 points, Malachi Flynn 17 and Matt Mitchell 16 for San Diego State (24-0, 13-0 Mountain West), whose season-opening run is the nation’s best since the 2016-17 Gonzaga team began the year 29-0.
The Aztecs’ 13-0 conference opening is also the best start to a season in Mountain West history.
Chris Joyce scored 23 points to lead Air Force (9-15, 3-9), which fell to 4-86 against ranked opponents. The Aztecs tied for the highest ranked opponent to play Air Force at Clune Arena. The Falcons played No. 4 ranked Utah here on Jan. 22, 1998.
Lavelle Scottie had 16 points and Caleb Morris added 12 for the Falcons, who lost their sixth straight.
Feagin hit 3-pointers on successive possessions to push the Aztecs’ advantage to 10 points.
Air Force fought to keep the game from getting away. Joyce connected from 3-point range and Scottie hit a jumper around a layup by Trey Pulliam to pull the Falcons to 65-58 with 11:09 to play. A layup by Scottie capped a 6-0 burst that pulled the Falcons to within 67-64 with 6:45 remaining.
San Diego State answered with a driving layup by Nolan Narain and Mitchell’s long 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired, rebuilding the Aztecs’ lead to 72-64 with 4:42 left.
After a pair of missed free throws by Air Force, Flynn had a 3-pointer and hit the first of two free throws as the Aztecs pulled in front by 12.
Schakel’s 3-pointer at 2:46 more than offset a pair of free throws by Joyce, and after breaking Air Force’s pressing defense Feagin connected on another 3-pointer as the Aztecs maintained a double digit lead the rest of the way
The Aztecs led by as many as 12 points in the first half but Air Force outscored San Diego State 6-1 in the last 2:10 of the period, pulling to 41-34.
San Diego State: The Aztecs lowered their magic number to two to clinch the conference’s regular season title, asserting themselves offensively in the late going to pull away for the victory. The Aztecs already own 11 Mountain West titles.
Air Force: The Falcons turned in a scrappy effort but in the end could not withstand the Aztecs speed on the floor and pinpoint perimeter shooting.
San Diego State: Hosts New Mexico on Tuesday night
Air Force: Plays at Boise State on Tuesday night