SAN DIEGO -- Redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Malik Pope returned to the lineup to score 12 points for San Diego State, which beat Boise State 72-64 on Tuesday night for its season-high fifth-straight victory.
SDSU (18-10, 10-7 Mountain West) played smothering defense late in the first half and again in the second half to take control. The Aztecs, who came in tied for fifth with Wyoming, are facing the Mountain West's top two teams in the final week as they try to improve their seed for the conference tournament. SDSU hosts first-place and No. 21 Nevada on Saturday night.
Pope, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, returned after being held out of Saturday night's game at San Jose State after his name appeared in documents that are part of a federal investigation into college basketball corruption. SDSU said an internal investigation cleared Pope.
After BSU pulled to 66-62 on Lexus Williams' 3-pointer with two minutes to go, Trey Kell fed Pope for a dunk that pushed the lead to six with 1:20 to go. Chandler Hutchinson, who led BSU with 18 points, made one of two free throws.
After McDaniels missed a 3-pointer, Pope swooped in for the rebound, Matt Mitchell was fouled and made both free throws to give SDSU a seven-point lead.
Devin Watson scored 13 for SDSU and Mitchell had 11.
Justinian Jessup had 11 points and Zach Haney had 11 rebounds for Boise State (22-7, 12-5), which is assured of being the No. 2 tournament seed.
McDaniels was whistled for a flagrant foul when he tripped Chris Sengfelder with 4½ minutes to go, negating a breakaway layup by Mitchell. Sengfelder made one of two free throws to pull the Broncos to 63-56.On the ensuing possession, Hutchinson was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws.
BSU led 43-42 on Hutchinson's basket three minutes into the second half before SDSU tightened up on defense and went ahead.
SDSU led 38-37 at halftime.
Boise State: Hutchinson went off for a school-record 44 points to lead the Broncos to an 83-80 home victory against SDSU on Jan. 13, going 15 of 21 from the field, including 7 of 10 from 3-point range. But he made only 4 of 14 field goals Tuesday night and missed all four 3-pointers.
San Diego State: Pope was cleared to play earlier in the day after the school said it determined he didn't receive impermissible benefits. Pope's name appeared in documents that are part of a federal investigation into college basketball corruption. SDSU said an investigation led by associate athletic director of compliance Andy Humes found no evidence that Pope received any impermissible benefits or violated any NCAA rules.
Boise State hosts Wyoming on Saturday night in the regular-season finale.
San Diego State hosts No. 21 Nevada on Saturday night to end the regular season.