Utah State rolls to third straight win, beating Colorado State, 87-72

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LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Utah State extended its winning streak to three, leading wire-to-wire in beating Colorado State Saturday night at home, 87-72.

Neemias Queta and Brock Miller paced five Aggies in double figures with 18 points apiece. Queta recorded the third double-double of his career as he also grabbed 11 rebounds, to go along with three blocks, two assists and two steals.

“I think we did a really good job on defense,” Queta said. “We didn’t put them below the numbers we’re used to, but we did a good job. We could have done better, but I think we were pretty solid. On offense, we were sharing the ball a lot. We had 23 assists over (32) field goals, so that’s pretty good.”

All six of Miller’s field goals came from beyond the arc as he matched his career high in made 3-pointers. Miller shot 6-for-11 from the field overall, but 6-for-9 from 3-point land. Queta shot an efficient 8-for-11 from the field.

“Colorado State is a really great team,” said Miller. “They’ve got a good big man, really good guards and good shooters. We came out from the start and had a really great start. We set the tone early on how the game was going to go. I think we played really hard as a team. We shared the ball and got great shots and a really great victory.”

Joining those two freshmen in double-figure scoring for the Aggies (14-5, 4-2 Mountain West) were junior guard Sam Merrill (16), senior forward Quinn Taylor (12) and junior guard Diogo Brito (12). Utah State shot 54.2 percent from the field (32-of-59), including 48.0 percent from beyond the arc (12-of-25), and 78.6 percent from the free throw line (11-of-14).

Of the 32 made baskets by Utah State, 23 of them were assisted, including eight from Merrill and five from Taylor. The Aggies also dominated around the glass and in the paint as they outrebounded CSU, 39-24, and outscored the visitors in the paint, 38-20.

“That’s a good win for our guys and our program,” said head coach Craig Smith. “I thought they played a great game tonight. There were a lot of times we’d go up and blow it open, and they’d respond in a great way. They played good basketball. They shot 45 percent, which is about as high as a team has shot (against us) in a long time. This team is constantly reinventing itself and we’re finding different ways to win. I thought overall, we defended really well. They got us on a few things. We knew with the week they had off there would be some new looks they would have, and they capitalized on some of those.”

Saturday was the 99th meeting between the Aggies and Rams. Utah State now leads the overall series 59-40.

Just like the Aggies, five Rams scored in double figures, led by J.D. Paige, who had 17 points. Hyron Edwards had 14 points, Adam Thistlewood and Nico Carvacho chipped in 12 points apiece, and Kris Martin scored 10.

Carvacho, who battled Queta all night long down on the blocks, also finished with a double-double for CSU (7-11, 2-3 MW) as he grabbed a team-high 10 boards.

The Rams shot 45.1 percent from the field on the night (23-of-51), including 41.7 from beyond the arc (10-of-24), and 61.5 percent from the charity stripe (16-of-26).

The Aggies wasted no time in jumping out to the early lead, as Utah State made five of its first seven shots of the game, including a steal and coast-to-coast dunk by Queta, to give USU a 14-2 lead with 15:43 remaining in the first half.

During that stretch, CSU missed four of its first five shots and turned it over three times.

Colorado State did find its offense, though, and trimmed the lead to four on a couple of occasions, including 21-17 at the 10:32 mark.

However, that’s as close as the Rams would get the rest of the way. USU eventually pushed its lead out to as many as 16 in the first half, thanks in part to a 20-8 spurt after Colorado State pulled within four.

The Rams committed 10 turnovers in the first half and the Aggies parlayed those into 12 points. Utah State led at the break 44-35.

Utah State will now enjoy a week off before returning to the court on Saturday, Jan. 26, when the Aggies take on New Mexico (9-9, 3-3 MW) in Albuquerque, N.M.

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