What looked to be a blowout Utah State win in the first half turned into a game that came down to the wire as Utah State won a 75-72 game. The Aggies outscored the Wolfpack 41-25 in the first half but Nevada played a much better second half, outscoring Utah State 47-34.
Justin Bean was the leading scorer for Utah State, putting up 19 points on 7-13 shooting (53.8%), going 3-5 from three (60%) and 2-3 from the free throw line (66.6%). Justin Bean had 10 rebounds (seven defensive, three offensive), three assists, three stelas, a block, four turnovers, and three personal fouls. Neemias Queta had an impressive performance, putting up 16 points on 3-9 shooting (33.3%) and going 10-14 from the free throw line (71.4%). He also had a big 17 rebounds (12 defensive, five offensive), two assists, a steal, three blocks, two turnovers, and a personal foul. Brock Miller and Alphonso Anderson both put up 10 points on 3-10 shooting (30%) and 3-7 shooting (42.9%) respectively and both also went 1-2 from the free throw line as well as making three of their three point attempts. In addition to the points, Miller put up three rebounds and a steal while Anderson had an two rebounds (one offensive, one defensive), two assists, a steal, five turnovers, and a personal foul. Marco Anthony returned to action after missing the Boise State series and put up four points on 2-4 shooting and also had eight assists, a steal, a block, two turnovers, and two personal fouls.
Off the bench, Steven Ashworth had nine points on 2-4 shooting, going 2-3 from three (66.6%), and 3-4 from the free three throw line. He also had two assists, a turnover, and a personal foul. Max Shulga put up seven points on 3-4 shooting, 1-2 from the free throw line. Shulga also had four rebounds (two defensive, two offensive), two assists, two turnovers, and a personal foul.
As a team, Utah State mdae 23 of their 52 attempted shots (44.2%) and made 11 of their 21 threes (52.4%). Nevada went 24-58 (41.4%) and went 13-26 from three (50%). Utah State made 18 of their 27 threes (66.7%) and Nevada made 11 of their 14 (78.6%). Utah State had 38 rebounds compared to Nevada’s 28 and also had more assists than Nevada, with a 20-18 advantage. Nevada had 11 steals to Utah State’s seven and Utah State had five blocks to Nevada’s one. The Aggies had 16 turnovers to Nevada’s 12 but the Aggies had nine fouls to Nevada’s large foul number of 22.
The largest lead of the game for Utah State was 19 and overall it was a better first half for the Aggies than second half. It’s an important win for the Aggies but the series doesn’t feel as big as it would have been had Utah State not been swept by Boise State. 16 turnovers isn’t great but Utah State outrebounded yet another opponent and was able to create a sizeable difference in fouls.
The NCAA Tournament is not out of the question for Utah State but things are going to be a lot harder for them than it would be for a team like San Diego State or Boise State at this point. The Aggies do have the sweep over San Diego State and could have a potential sweep over Nevada but they had a slower start to the year. A sweep over Nevada and getting to the semi finals of the Mountain West tournament could lead to Utah State sneaking into the tournament but there is still a lot of unknowns. The tournament draws near and and answers will become clear soon.