LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Utah State knows if it is going to make it to the Big Dance for the fourth straight year, the Aggies to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
But if they get hot, the Aggies are very capable of making a serious run.
Justin Bean scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season, as Utah State snapped a 4-game losing skid with a dominating 81-56 win over New Mexico Tuesday night at The Spectrum.
“First and foremost, it’s great to get a win for our guys,” said head coach Ryan Odom. “We had a tough stretch. Losing four in a row is really hard for our guys. One of the things I told them after the game was, ‘You would have never known had you walked into our practices that we lost four in a row.’ You couldn’t tell the difference if we won four or if we lost four. The mood and the attitude was really strong.”
Brandon Horvath had 19 points for Utah State (16-13, 7-9 Mountain West Conference), while Sean Bairstow added 12 points. Steven Ashworth had 10 points and six assists.
Coming off his worst performance of the season in which he scored just six points against Boise State, Bean made 9 of 13 shots and also dished out five assists.
“That was exciting,” Bean said. “We had a really good mentality. I thought we were locked in all week despite the loss from Boise last game. That really showed tonight. I thought we didn’t have a lot of mental lapses, and we were composed.”
The Aggies went on a 15-2 run early in the first half to take control of the game and never looked back. The Aggies made their first eight shots of the game, led 38-21 at the half, and built the lead to as high as 29 in the second half.
Brock Miller, who missed the last 14 games with a back injury, returned to a loud ovation and sank a three-pointer for the first time since December 18th.
“I was really proud of our guys and how we were able to come together and get stops and scores and stops and scores against a really good team,” Miller said. “Overall it was a good win for us. Obviously, we’ve been through a lot this season in the past few games, so it was a good home win for us to get us going a little bit. I thought overall, proud of the guys. Great game.”
New Mexico scored 21 points in the first half, a season low for the team.
Jamal Mashburn Jr. had 13 points for the Lobos (11-17, 3-11). KJ Jenkins added 12 points. Jay Allen-Tovar had 11 points.
The Aggies, who also beat New Mexico 90-87 on Jan. 8., swept the season series with the Lobos.
Utah State next hosts Colorado State Saturday night.