Things have quickly turned downhill for Utah State as they have now dropped two straight, most recently in a 59-56 game to UNLV. Utah State put up 34 points in the first half while UNLV put up 39. In the second half, neither team did too good on offense as Utah State put up only 22 points and UNLV put up 20.
Marco Anthony was the leading scorer for Utah State, putting up 18 points on 5-15 shooting (33.3%), 2-6 from three (33.3%), and 6-6 from the free throw line. Marco Anthony grabbed nine rebounds (seven defensive, two offensive), three assists, and two steals. Justin Bean was scored the second most points with 10 on 4-11 shooting (36.4%), 2-2 from the free throw line. Bean also had six rebounds (four defensive, two offensive), a steal, three turnovers, and two turnovers. Rollie Worster scored nine points on 4-10 shooting (40%), also going 1-2 from the three point line. In addition to the points he had three rebounds (two defensive, one offensive), an assist, two steals, two turnovers, and five personal fouls. Neemias Queata put up eight points on 3-9 shooting (33.3%), 2-2 from the free throw line, and had 11 rebounds (seven defensive, four offensive), three assists, and six blocks. Brock Miller posted seven points on 2-3 shooting (66.7%), 2-3 from the three point line (66.7%), 1-1 from the free throw line. He also had two rebounds (one defensive, one offensive), an assist, and two personal fouls.
Sean Bairstow was the only Utah State player off the bench to put up points. He had four points on 2-4 shooting, an assist, a steal, and a turnover. Steven Ashworth had four rebounds but also had five turnovers.
Both teams shot 20-61 (32.8%), but UNLV was able to do better at the three point line, shooting 13-30 (43.3%), compared to Utah State’s 5-22 (22.7%). Utah State was 11-12 from the free throw line (91/7%) while UNLV was 6-7 (85.7%). Utah State once again outrebounded their opponent with a 44-38 advantage but the Rebels were able to get more assists (14-11), and steals (13-8). Utah State had more blocks (7-3), less turnovers (17-18), and less fouls (12-16).
The reason the Aggies lost this game was because of very poor shooting, specially from the three point line. A team is not going to have a very good chance of winning of they are shooting 5-22 from three. In the losses that Utah State has had this year, the shooting percentage has often been a big problem. Utah State was able to create turnovers, make their free throws, and rebound well but the shooting percentage was costly. After sweeping San Diego State a NCAA Tournament bid for Utah State seemed likely. Now with two losses in a row and a 12-5 record, things are a lot less clear. If Utah State gets swept by UNLV or Boise State and drops another game or two down the road, they may have to win the Mountain West tournament to receive an invite to March Madness. This game against UNLV just seemed to be an off game for Utah State offensively as they look to do better in the second game. Games against Wyoming and Nevada won’t be easy to win and getting big wins in those series will be essential for Utah State to keep their chances alive. It seems unlikely that Utah State will be able to get a seed in the top 10 so there is little room for error moving forward.