HONOLULU (ABC4 Sports) – It was a Mele Kalikimaka for the Utah State basketball team.
Six different players scored in double figures as the Aggies beat Washington State 82-73 in the third-place game of the 2022 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Sunday at SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.
With the win, the Aggies wrapped up non-conference play with an 11-2 mark. The Cougars fell to 5-8 overall with the loss.
Taylor Funk, Trevin Dorius and Steven Ashworth scored 12 points apiece for Utah State, which shot a sizzling 11-of-17 from 3-point range (64.7 percent).
Overall, the Aggies connected on 60.4 percent of their shots from the field (32-of-53), but just 46.7 percent from the free throw line (7-of-15).
Ashworth was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, to go along with a game-high five assists, as Utah State had 21 helpers on 32 baskets. Six different Aggies had at least two assists on the day.
Sean Bairstow and Max Shulga chipped in 11 points apiece for Utah State, and Dan Akin made all five of his shots from the field to finish with 10 points.
Washington State’s Mouhamed Gueye had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while TJ Bomba scored 19. Justin Powell added 10 points for the Cougars, who shot 44.4 percent from the field (24-of-54), including an icy 11.8 percent from 3-point range (2-of-17), and 88.5 percent from the charity stripe (23-of-26).
Back-to-back layups by Funk less than a minute apart gave Utah State a 42-27 lead late in the first half, but a couple of made free throws by the Cougars’ Kymany Houinsou pared the deficit to 13 at the break.
The Cougars pulled within 50-41 with 15:33 to go, but that was the only time the difference was in single digits in the second half until Bomba scored at the buzzer to cap a 7-0 run by Washington State.
Utah State next opens Mountain West Conference play by playing host to Fresno State, at noon, on New Year’s Eve.