#25 Utah State Opens Conference Play with a Win
Aggies pull away in the 2nd half
After losing to St. Mary’s on Friday #25 Utah State returned to action in the Bay Area against San Jose State. Those who stayed up late to watch were treated to an Aggie victory. Utah State was able to pull ahead in the second half and win their Mountain West Conference opener 71-59. Utah State has now beaten San Jose State 24 out of the last 25 times the two teams have played.
The Aggies led the Spartans 36-33 at the half. Forward Justin Bean had an excellent first half tallying 12 points and 6 rebounds for Utah State. Brae Ivey and Christian Anigwe led the Spartans with 6 points each. The Spartans were able to enforce a slower style of play throughout the first half which allowed them to stay within striking range of the Aggies.
It didn’t take long for Utah State to open up a decent lead in the second half. Justin Bean finished the game with a double-double, 18 points and 14 rebounds. Bean is the only player in the Mountain West Conference to be averaging a double-double.
Sam Merrill Finished with 14 points. It was an atypical game for Merrill. The senior guard from Bountiful, UT is normally a sharpshooter from the free throw line. Against the Spartans Merrill shot a lousy 3-6 from the charity stripe. Another Aggie that played well was red-shirt freshman center Trevin Dorius. Getting his second career start, Dorius finished with 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 block. Although his stat line might not appear that impressive, the 7 footer certainly provides good rim protection for Utah State.
For the Spartans, Seneca Knight played well in the second half and finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds. San Jose State was picked to finished last in the preseason poll. The team that showed up to play last night did not appear to be a last place team. They played well and they held the high powered Aggie offense to 71 points.
Utah State returns to the Spectrum in Logan on Saturday at 4 PM to take on the Bulldogs from Fresno.
For the 9th time this season sophomore center Neemias Queta did not play. Coach Smith alluded to the fact that Queta will be back “sooner than later”. Kuba Korwowski was also absent Wednesday night while recovering from an illness.
After losing to St. Mary’s on Friday, Utah State dropped 10 spots from #15 to #25.