Utah State Holds On To Win In Fort Collins
The Aggies emerged victorious after a back and forth battle for second place in the Mountain West.
The Aggies get a resume boosting win.
After a slow first half, this game ended in an exciting finish between two teams battling for second place behind San Diego State. Utah State survived a late second half run from Colorado State to earn a quad two win and boost their NCAA tournament resume.
The first half was a back and forth battle between the Aggies and Rams. Both teams started hot, before a Utah State run put them up by nine. Neemias Queta and Sam Merrill led the Aggies run. While Isaiah Stevens was the Rams leader at half with 11 points.
Queta had eight points and eight rebounds before getting his third foul with four minutes left in the first half. Merrill had 12 points and crossed the 2,000 point barrier in the first half. The Rams had a run at the end of the first half, but Utah State responded to take a seven point lead into half.
The second half was more back and forth. Both CSU and Utah State were on fire in the second half, with both teams shooting plus 50% from the field. CSU shot almost 70% in the second half, but couldn’t get enough stops on defense. Each team went on multiple runs throughout the second half, with Utah State escaping with the win after the Rams’ last gasp run fell short.
Merrill continued to go off, adding 20 points to his first half total to finish with 32 points. Queta was held out early in the second half with foul trouble and only added six more points to his total to finish with 14 points, but did add three rebounds to finish with a double-double.
Colorado State fought hard in the second half, but they let Utah State answer their runs. The Rams had moments in the second half where they would get the game into a one to two possession game and then let up. The Aggies would then respond with a run of their own to grow the lead again.
The Rams had multiple players step up in the second half and ended with four players in double figures. Stevens finished with 19 points, Nico Carvacho finished with 12 points, while both Adam Thistlewood and David Roddy finished with 10 points.
Utah State will stay on the road, as they head to California to face Fresno State. Colorado State will also head on the road as they head north to face Wyoming, in the second half of this year’s Border War.