LARAMIE, Wyo. (ABC4 Sports) – This time, Utah State did not need a monumental comeback to get the win.
Instead, the Aggies just needed to weather a mini Wyoming storm at the end of the first half and beginning of the second.
Utah State did just that Tuesday night for a 65-55 victory over the injury-riddled Cowboys in a Mountain West men’s basketball game at Arena Auditorium.
Steven Ashworth scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, including eight during a personal 8-0 run that gave the Aggies (22-7, 11-5 MW) the lead for good.
Max Shulga and Dan Akin added 11 points apiece for Utah State, which won its third-straight game, including rallying from 21 down – the largest deficit overcome in program history – to beat Nevada 75-66 last Saturday night.
Xavier Dusell led all scorers in the game with 21 points for Wyoming (8-19, 3-12 MW), which has lost eight of the last 10 against Utah State. Hunter Maldonado nearly finished with a double-double for the Cowboys as he had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Less than five minutes into the contest, Utah State found itself leading by double digits at 15-5. The Aggies pushed their advantage out to a dozen on a couple of occasions and were up 32-21 with 5:10 remaining in the opening half.
However, Utah State couldn’t build on its lead as it missed its final five shots of the half and made just one of the four free throw attempts it took. As a result, the Cowboys closed the first 20 minutes of play on a 12-1 run to square the game at 33-apiece heading into the locker room.
Wyoming grabbed its first lead of the night with 16:40 to go on a layup by Dusell that made it 38-37. The Cowboys were up by three 45 seconds later when Caden Powell made a layup of his own.
With his team trailing 40-37, Ashworth made sure the Aggies didn’t stay down long as he scored the next eight points of the game to help Utah State regain the lead for good.
The Cowboys got within two on a couple of occasions, but that’s as close as they would get the rest of the way.
After Maldonado scored on a layup to pull Wyoming within 47-45 with 8:58 to go, Utah State went on a 9-2 run to pull away for good.
The Aggies shot 41.2 percent from the field (21-of-51) on the night, but just 25.9 percent from 3-point range (7-of-27). Utah State connected on 72.7 percent of its foul shots (16-of-22).
Defensively, Utah State held the Cowboys to 31.5 percent shooting from the field (17-of-54), including 26.1 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-23), and 75.0 percent from the charity stripe (15-of-20).
The Aggies conclude their two-game road swing when they square off against UNLV on Wednesday, March 1, at 9 p.m.