Utah State picked up a big 21 point win in a 74-53 victory over UNLV and advanced to the semi-finals against Colorado State. Both teams scored 24 points in the first half but Utah State put up 50 points in the second half compared to UNLV’s 29 points.
The leading scorer for the Aggies was not surprisingly Neemias Queta, who had 18 points on 4-9 shooting and went 10-12 from the free throw line (83.3%). He also had 13 rebounds (11 defensive, two offensive), an assist, a steal, three blocks, two turnovers, and a personal foul. Marco Anthony scored 15 points on 6-12 shooting and went 2-3 from three (66.6%) and 1-2 from the free throw line. He also had 13 rebounds (seven defensive, six offensive), five assists, two steals, a block, three turnovers, and a personal foul. Rollie Worster scored 14 points on 6-9 shooting (66.6%), 1-1 from three, 1-2 from the free throw line and also had six rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one turnover, and three personal fouls. Justin Bean had 10 points on 5-7 shooting (71.4%) and had five rebounds (three defensive, two offensive), an assist, a steal, three turnovers, and three personal fouls. Brock Miller scored eight points on 3-10 shooting, going 2-8 from three (25%), and posted a rebound.
Off the bench, Alphonso Anderson led the Aggies with five points on 2-7 shooting (28.6%), 1-2 from three, and had a rebound and personal foul. Sean Bairstow was the only other Aggie to score points, putting up four points on 2-2 shooting.
As a team, Utah State shot 28-62 (45.2%) while UNLV went 19-59 (32.2%). The Aggies went 6-18 from three (33.3%) while the Rebels went 6-22 (27.3%) and Utah State went 12-15 from the free throw line (80%) compared to UNLV’s 9-13 (69.2%). Utah State outrebounded UNLV 45-32 and had more assists than the Rebels with a 18-9 advantage. UNLV had seven steals while Utah State had six and the Aggies had five blocks compared to UNLV’s four. Utah State had 10 turnovers and UNLV had 12 and the Rebels also had more fouls with 15 compared to the Aggie’s 12.
The largest lead of the game for Utah State was 23 points as the Aggies showed continued improvement sine the series against Boise State. Utah State is still very much alive in the race to make the NCAA tournament and going to the next round is a good sign. Up next for Utah State will be a much more difficult Colorado State team so the Aggies will need to come prepared and execute well. As a team that is still considered to be on the bubble, getting a win over the Rams and making it to the finals of the Mountain West tournament would be a great resume builder, but it should be no easy task.