LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Down by 16 points at halftime and 10 with 5:40 to go in the game, Utah State fought back to make it suspenseful, but couldn’t complete the comeback against No. 25 San Diego State.
Matt Bradley scored 18 points, Jaedon LeDee had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the Aztecs held off the Aggies 63-61 in front of 8,765 fans Wednesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Dan Akin knocked down a pair of free throws to pull Utah State (19-6, 8-4 Mountain West) to within 62-61 with 1:00 remaining in the contest. After the Aztecs (19-5, 9-3 MW) failed to convert on their end of the court, missing a pair of shots in the paint, Steven Ashworth grabbed the defensive rebound and the Aggies had a chance to steal the game.
It wasn’t to be, though. Max Shulga couldn’t connect on a step-back jumper with five seconds to go and Keshad Johnson came down with the board for SDSU and was immediately fouled.

Johnson could only connect on one of his free throw attempts to make it 63-61 for the Aztecs. USU got the rebound on the second miss and called timeout with 1.5 seconds left.
The Aggies had to go the length of the court to try and steal the win. Shulga’s heave to Sean Bairstow went off the hand off an SDSU player, and USU got the ball underneath its basket with 0.2 seconds remaining, but could not get a final shot off.

“It was definitely a rowdy atmosphere and that’s exactly how we would like it and we’re appreciative to the fans for bringing it,” said Ashworth. “We knew that when you’re battling for the top spot in the Mountain West, you can expect physical play and that’s what we got. Some of those things I think were a little out of character for us in regards to some of the technical fouls and some things like that. But we’ve got to be more composed. From the grand scheme of things, it was a lot of fun playing and there was definitely some moments of distraction where you have to get regrouped and communicate to each other clearly that we have to stay focused. I thought our team was able to do that which I was really proud of.”
Ashworth led Utah State, which had its three-game home winning streak against the Aztecs snapped, with 18 points, while Taylor Funk added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Three other Aggies scored seven points apiece in senior center Trevin Dorius, Shulga and Akin.
San Diego State’s Adam Seiko torched the Aggies for 25 points back on Jan. 25 in the first meeting between these two games, but Utah State shut him down this time around. He was held to zero points on 0-of-3 shooting from the field.

A first half scuffle broke out between the two teams that led to multiple technical fouls, two Aggie players and an assistant coach being ejected, and one Aztec being ejected, as well.

Utah State led 13-11 with 12:47 remaining in the first half when SDSU went on a 14-2 run to move in front for good. It appeared as if the Aztecs were going to run away with it after that as they went into the locker room with a seemingly comfortable 44-28 lead at intermission.
But, on the 58th anniversary of Wayne Estes’ tragic death, the Aggies wouldn’t go away. Down 62-52 with 5:40 to go, Utah State used a 9-0 run, capped by Akin’s two free throws, to pull within one.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, that’s as close as they would get to getting over the hump.
Utah State shot just 38.5 percent from the field (20-of-52), including 26.3 percent from the 3-point line (5-of-19), and 72.7 percent from the charity stripe (16-of-22).

“Tough game all around,” said USU head coach Ryan Odom. “The first half was obviously disjointed in a lot of ways for us. Not as much for San Diego State, they played well. Their defense really impacted us in a negative way. They were getting out on Steven, getting out on Taylor. We were not as organized as we needed to be attacking their half court pressure. We didn’t give ourselves enough space. We didn’t cut hard enough. All things that our guys are pretty good at. You have to give San Diego State credit for getting us out of sorts in our half court offense.”
For the Aztecs, they didn’t shoot much better with a 39.7 percent clip from the floor (25-of-63), including just 29.4 percent from beyond the arc (5-of-17), and 61.5 percent from the free throw line (8-of-13).
The Aggies hit the road to take on San José State on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. (MT), in San Jose, California.