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Utah State vs. Santa Clara final score: Aggies edge out Broncos, 60-54

Utah State used a strong second half to improve to 3-0 in its win over Santa Clara.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah State Aggies overcame yet another slow start to improve to 3-0 on the season, defeating the Santa Clara Broncos, 60-54. Santa Clara opened the game 6 of 6 shooting, including four from behind the arc, to jump out to a 16-1 lead over the Aggies. A steady attack led by Jalen Moore who had 15 points and six rebounds, and Chris Smith helped out with 14 points and eight rebounds. Those two allowed the Aggies to work their way back into the game. A three by Smith with 3:56 remaining gave the Aggies their first lead of the night 51-49.

From there the Aggies never trailed again on their way to a 60-54 victory. The Aggies defense stepped up after the opening run to hold the Broncos to 14 of 49 shooting including a two of 20 effort from three. The Aggies also managed to force 12 turnovers and block five shots. Utah State struggled once again on the boards, giving up 15 offensive rebounds and were out rebounded 43-30 on the night. Brandon Clark, the Broncos leading scorer this season (26.0PPG), was held to just nine points on 15 shots. Jared Brownridge was the Broncos leading scorer with 11 points and Matt Hubbard chipped in 10 off the bench.

Utah State looked most comfortable when they were able to slow the pace of the game and get into their half-court sets. The Aggies offense was clearly more successful when they forced Santa Clara's zone defense to move with more than one or two passes. While the Aggies constant switching between man and zone defense led to some of the rebounding troubles it also allowed them to keep the

Broncos from gaining any offensive rhythm. Despite having such a young team, only four returners from last year none of whom were starters, the Aggies have managed to fight back from double digit deficits in each of their first three games to come away with wins. Coach Stew Morrill has this young squad believing they can win close games.

Up next, The Aggies hit the road to face Mississippi State (2-0) this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. MT. That game can be viewed on the SEC Network's alternate channel, and streaming on WatchESPN.