LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah State improved to 11-1 at home this year, holding off a New Mexico rally to beat the Lobos Wednesday night, 84-73.
Sean Bairstow made 8-of-12 shots and matched a career high with 20 points, while Steven Ashworth had 19 as the Aggies improved to 18-5 overall, 7-3 in the Mountain West Conference.
Dan Akin had 16 points off the bench to go along with a career-high five assists, and Max Shulga sank three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points.
Utah State has now won six straight games over New Mexico and nine of its last ten against the Lobos.
“Obviously a great game and a great atmosphere first and foremost,” said USU head coach Ryan Odom. “Tremendous crowd tonight. Great to have our students packed like that for Spectrum Night.”
The Aggies stormed out to a 46-27 lead at the half, and led by as many as 20 points in the second half, before New Mexico cut the deficit to eight with 10:28 to play. But that was as close as they would get.
“It means a lot, it shows that we belong like we have believed all season that we do,” Bairstow said. “Big statement win for us.”
Both teams shot the ball well, with Utah State making 46.3 percent of its shots from the field, while the Lobos sank 49.2 percent. The difference in the game came at the free throw line, where the Aggies made 27 of 31 shots, while New Mexico was 11 of 16.
“We had some droughts,” Odom said. “We had a little bit of a drought there halfway through. They closed the gap significantly and our guys had to answer with our own baskets and free throws and things of that sort to be able to finish the game out.”
“I was just playing basketball and not overthinking too much,” Bairstow said. “Just playing and seeing what happens.”
Jamal Mashburn Jr. paced five Lobos in double-figure scoring with 17 points. Udeze Morris had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Jaelen House finished with 14 points. Josiah Allick and Javonté Johnson chipped in 10 points apiece for UNM.
Taylor Funk chipped in nine points, seven rebounds and two assists for the Aggies, who outrebounded the Lobos 35-30. USU also had 13 assists on 25 made field goals.
Utah State as now won four of its last five games, and next plays at Colorado State Saturday, February 4th.