ST. MARY’S PULLS AHEAD TO BEAT #15 UTAH STATE
Gaels hand Aggies first loss of the season
It was bound to happen eventually… the Aggies finally lost. St. Mary’s pulled ahead in the final minutes of the game to win 81-73. The final 8-point deficit does not show just how close this game actually was. Throughout the game there were 23 lead changes and 13 ties.
Jordan Ford scored 27 points to help secure the victory for the Gaels and hand the Aggies their first loss of the season. Utah State was able to keep Ford in check during the first half, only allowing 5 points, but were unable to stop him in the second half. Malik Fitts netted 21 points and corralled 11 rebounds for the Gaels. Fitts’ play gave the Aggie defense fits as they were unable to stop him from scoring.
For the first time this season Utah State walked off the court as the losing team. The shorthanded Aggies were without freshman center Kuba Karwowski. The big man from Poland underwent an emergency appendectomy and was unable to travel with the Aggies. Neemias Queta, still suffering from a sprained knee, was in attendance last night but did not dress. There is still no time-table for his return.
Justin Bean led Utah State with 24 points and 11 rebounds. This was the first game that Bean did not sport a protective face-mask. After not grabbing a single rebound in the first half, Bean finished the game with 11. Sam Merrill finished the game with 23 points. After his worst performance of the season last Sunday, Merrill bounced back. Unfortunately he missed the first end of a one-and-one which would have kept the Aggies close in the final minutes of the game.
This was an important game for Utah State as well as St. Mary’s. Each of these teams have a difficult time scheduling reputable opponents. This was a chance for St. Mary’s and Utah State to add a quality win to their resumé. Unfortunately for Utah State, and their fans, St. Mary’s made key plays at key moments and pulled ahead at the right time.
The Aggies return to California on Wednesday to begin conference play against San Jose State.