Utah State used a barrage of three's to cruise past Air Force 78-65 on Tuesday night. Utah State hit a season-high 14 3-point shots, finishing the game shooting 41.2 percent (14-of-34) during the game. Chris Smith and Jalen Moore led the Aggies with 23 points each while Darius Perkins led the Aggies with a season-high seven assists.
Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich talked about the challenges defending this Aggies offense. "They score, they shoot well. We went man, and as soon as we went man, they posted us up and we couldn't guard their guards. Chris Smith is a good player and he's a tough matchup for us, he's just so big and strong."
The Air Force balanced scoring attack, four players in double digits was led by Hayden Graham with 14 points. Utah State out rebounded Air Force 36-27 and is now 12-1 on the year when winning the battle of the boards. The Aggies also forced 13 turnovers which led to 18 points.
"I was really proud of our guys' defensive discipline against them, we played probably 90% man to man and we did a good job taking the 3-pointer away from them and that's kind of their strength," Duryea said, "I really thought I guys did a good job defensively and on the boards, a great all around effort. We gang rebounded, we had guards in there getting some and our bigs went in there and chased it, we did a good job blocking out and getting bodies on bodies."
The Aggies took the lead for good when Moore knocked down a three with 1:32 left in the first half. Utah State closed the first half with a 14-4 run over the final four minutes to take a 40-33 lead into the break. The Aggie lead grew to as large as 18 in the second half.
Tim Duryea matched mentor Stew Morrill with 15 victories in his rookie season as head coach. Utah State will return to the court in the 2015-16 regular season finale when the Aggies host Fresno State on Saturday.