BOISE (ABC4 Sports) – Neemias Queta poured in a career-high 32 points, but it wasn’t enough as Boise State reclaimed first place in the Mountain West Conference with a 79-70 victory over the Aggies.
Queta made 12 of 21 shots from the field and pulled down 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double-double of the season. Queta’s previous career high was 24 points.
Derrick Alston, Jr. led Boise State with 26 points, while Marcus Shaver, Jr. scored eight of his 12 points in the final seven minutes as the Broncos closed the game on a 14-6 run.
“Congrats to Boise State, they earned it,” Utah State head coach Craig Smith said. “They made some plays down the stretch. They made some big shots, got some stops there where they kind of separated it. You’ve got to give them credit. One play never wins or loses a game, but Shaver’s 3 flipped the momentum, they got some mojo going.”
Marco Anthony had 11 points and four steals, while Justin Bean added 10 points and six rebounds. The Aggies out-rebounded the Broncos, 37-32, and outscored them in the paint, 40-36.
But the Aggies struggled from the three-point line making just three of 16 shots from behind the arc. Brock Miller, Utah State’s best three-point shooter, was 0 for 5 from three-point range and finished with just two points.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on the offensive end,” Queta said. “We could score anytime we wanted to. I felt like on the defensive end, we just gave up a lot of shots late. Kudos to them, they hit a lot of big shots. We just have to pick it up and move on the defensive end in the second game on Friday.”
Steven Ashworth had a team-high six assists.
The Aggies took a 39-37 lead into halftime, and ended up losing for just the second time this season when leading at the half.
Utah State (14-6, 11-3 Mountain West) falls back into a second place tie with Colorado State in the conference standings.
The Aggies and Boise State (17-4, 13-3 MWC) will play again Friday night at 8:00 p.m.