Utah State returned to action on December 31st, the first time they had played since December 24th and they looked strong against Air Force, scoring 44 points in the first half and 39 in the second while holding the Falcons to 28 in the first and 20 in the second.
Justin Bean was the leading scorer for the Aggies, scoring 15 points on 6-10 shooting and going 2-3 from three. Bean registered four offensive rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two personal fouls. Brock Miller scored 14 points and made 5-10 of his shots (4-9 from three) and also has a defensive rebound, two assists, two steals, and two personal fouls. Marco Anthony made 100% of his shots (5-5; 2-2 from three) and had two rebounds, six assists, and two personal fouls. Neemias Queta and Rollie Worster scored 10 points (5-7 shooting) and four points (1-4 shooting) respectively. Queta had five rebounds (two defensive, three offensive), five assists, two steals, and a block. Worster also had five rebounds (two defensive, three offensive), three assists, and a steal.
Off the bench, Steven Ashworth and Sean Bairstow scored 10 points (4-6; 2-4 from three) and nine points (4-8; 1-2 from three) respectively. Bairstow had four defensive rebounds, an assist, a block, and two fouls. Ashworth had two assists, a steal, and a personal foul.
As a team, Utah State shot 34-65 (52.3%) and was also 12-30 (40%) from three while Air Force shot 17-36 (47.2%) and was 5-19 from three (26.3%). The Aggies were 3-6 on free throws while the Falcons were 9-14 (64.3%). Utah State had 32 rebounds while Air Force had 23 and the Aggies also held a 24-12 advantage in assists. Utah State had 11 steals and a block while giving up nine turnovers while Air Force had only three steals and two blocks and turned the ball over 26 times. Utah State committed 21 fouls while Air Force committed 11 fouls.
Overall this was a very strong team performance for Utah State, whose largest lead was 38. In the past couple of games Utah State, now 6-3, has had victories of large margins but it is important to consider that those wins have come against teams who aren’t very competitive this year as San Jose State and Air Force have both been struggling. The last time Utah State lost was at home on December 6th to BYU and Utah State also has losses to VCU, 85-69, and South Dakota State, 83-59.
Up next for Utah State is the second game against Air Force that will complete the series between the Aggies and Falcons. That game will take place on January 2nd at 6:00 PM EST. After the Aggies finish the series against the Falcons, they will have a two game series on the road against New Mexico before a two game home series against San Diego State.
Currently Boise State and Utah State are tied for first place at the top of the conference and Colorado State is closely following in second place at 2-0. San Diego State has not played a conference games as of yet but figures to be in the top half of the conference when they do play a conference games. Utah State has seen a lot of improvement since the beginning of the season but that improvement will be tested with challenging games ahead.