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Utah State Wins Game 1 Against San Diego State

The Aztecs played in a close defensive battle on Thursday night in Logan, Utah

Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal via Associated Press

Utah State is on a complete roll at the moment. They haven’t lost a game since a 67-64 loss to BYU and they Aggies have now won nine straight games and won three series against San Jose State, Air Force, and New Mexico. The ninth win was a big one for Utah State, a 57-45 win over San Diego State, who has now lost their second conference game. Utah State scored 33 points in the first half while holding San Diego State to 20 and scored 24 in the second half and holding the Aztecs to 25.

The leading scorer for Utah State was Brock Miller, who had 16 points on 5-11 shooting (4-10 from three; 2-2 from the free throw line), and also registered two rebounds and two assists. Neemias Queta had a huge game, scoring 14 points (7-11 shooting) and posted a team high 16 rebounds (11 defensive, five offensive) in addition to one assist, three steals, one block, four turnovers, and three fouls. Rollie Worster scored five points on 2-6 shooting (1-3 from three) and registering four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and a block, but he also had a team high six turnovers. Justin Bean posted four points (2-7 shooting) and four rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks, and a turnover. Marco Anthony had two points (1-4 shooting) and five rebounds, two assists, a steal, and two turnovers.

Off the bench, Alphonso Anderson scored six points (2-4 shooting; 2-2 from three) and also had a steal. Steven Ashworth had five points (2-7 shooting; 1-3 from three) and two rebounds, three assists, a steal and a turnover. Sean Bairstow also scored five points (2-3 shooting; 1-1 from three) and a rebound and a turnover.

As a team, Utah State shot 23-53 (43.4%) compared to San Diego State’s 17-54 (31.5%). Utah State went 9-23 from three while San Diego State went 5-21 (23.8%). Once again Utah State outrebounded their opponent, in a 36-34 advantage and the Aggies also held a 15-10 advantage in assists. Both teams had ten steals but Utah State had more blocks than San Diego State, a 4-2 advantage. The Aggies had 18 turnovers and the Aztecs had 16 and the Aggies also had more fouls than the Aztecs, 12 compared to the Aztec’s 11.

The largest lead for Utah State was 13, which shows this was a pretty close game. Neither of the offenses were that impressive, defense was the key to victory. While 18 turnovers isn’t good for Utah State, they also forced 16. Utah State was able to do just enough offensively to pull away at the end of the game. There wasn’t a lot of fouls by either teams, which indicates smart defense, and both teams rebounded well. This was a big win for Utah State, who is now 10-3 (7-0) on the year.

The old saying is that it is hard to beat a team twice. This will hold especially true against a team such as San Diego State. Utah State will need to have another great defensive game and will also need to find a way to figure out San Diego State’s defense. Rebounds have been a strong spot for the Aggies all season and will be a key factor in a second victory over the Aztecs. The second game between the two should be just as good as the first, maybe even better, and play will be an essential role in the regular season Mountain West title.