The old saying is that it’s hard to beat a team twice, but Utah State just did it against San Diego State, one of the tougher teams to beat in the conference. This was a higher scoring game than the first but it was still a defensive battle in a 64-59 victory for the Aggies. San Diego State outscored Utah State 32-22 in the first half but the Aggies were able to put up a much stronger second half effort, putting up 42 points while holding San Diego State to 27 points.
Among the starters, Brock Miller was the leading scorer, putting up 11 points (4-8; 3-7 from three) and grabbing two rebounds, a steal, and getting three personal fouls. Neemias Queta scored 10 points (4-6 shooting; 2-6 from the free throw line) and had eight defensive rebounds, two offensive rebounds, four assists, a steal, five blocks, five turnovers, and five fouls. Marco Anthony put up six points (2-6; 2-3 from the free throw line) and seven rebounds (five defensive, two offensive), two assists, two steals, and three turnovers. Rollie Worster scored five points (2-7 shooting; 1-3 from three) and also posted four rebounds, two assists, a block, and two turnovers. Justin Bean scored four points and had six rebounds (two defensive, four offensive), a steal, three turnovers, and three fouls.
Off the bench, Steven Ashworth put up a team high 17 points (3-8 shooting; 3-6 from three; 8-8 from the free throw line) and had two rebounds, an assist, a block, and three fouls. Alphonso Anderson put up nine points (2-6 shooting; 5-6 from the free throw line) and had seven rebounds (five defensive, two offensive), an assist, and two fouls.
As a team, Utah State shot 19-51 (37.3%), 7-22 from three (31.8%), while San Diego State shot 23-56 (41.1%), 6-19 from three (31.6%). Utah State was 19-25 from the free throw line (76%) while San Diego State was 7-15 (46.7%). Utah State held advantages in rebounds and steals, 39-32 and 11-7 respectively. The Aggies had five steals while the Aztecs had six and the Aggies had seven blocks compared to the Aztec’s three. Utah State had 16 turnovers to San Diego State’s 12 but the Aztecs did have 23 fouls compared to the Aggies 19.
San Diego State ended the first half looking like they had a pretty good chance for victory but Utah State kept fighting in the second half and their perseverance and good defensive play were significant factors in an Aggies victory. This was a very important series for Utah State to do well in and one win in the series would have been considered good, but Utah State won both games. The reason winning both games was important is because the Aggies are now tied with Boise State for the top spot in the conference. If they had lost one game they would be one game behind if they lost both two games behind. The better the record for the Aggies the better the chance Utah State will make it into the NCAA tournament. The will still be challenges down the road for the Aggies but a sweep of San Diego State is a big deal.