Utah State’s NCAA Tournament ends early with 65-53 loss to Texas Tech


Red Raiders use 24-4 in second half to blow the game open

Texas Tech guard Mac McClung (0) shoots a 3-point shot while Utah State guard Marco Anthony (44) defends during the second half of a first round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Friday, March 19, 2021, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (ABC4 Sports) – For one half, it looked like Utah State would be able to end it’s 20-year NCAA Tournament victory drought.

But Texas Tech shut the Aggies down in the second half, using a 24-4 run, and pulled away for a 65-53 victory to end the Aggies season.

Neemias Queta had 11 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocked shots and six assists, while Justin Bean had 13 points and eight rebounds. But the Aggies could not take care of the ball, committing 22 turnovers.

“You know, they really swarmed us,” Utah State head coach Craig Smith said. “They’re an elite defensive team and we knew that coming in. The turnover battle was going to be a big thing. The two things that we really thought, valuing the ball, being ball tough, being able to make quick decisions, you have to do that at a high level to get good shots against these guys and to eliminate losing. One of the pieces of eliminating losing is taking care of the ball.”

Mac McClung led Texas Tech with 16 points, while Kyler Edwards added 12 points. Marco Anthony had 11 points for the Aggies.

Utah State made just four of 19 shots from three-point range, as Alphonso Anderson and Brock Miller were a combined two for 14 from beyond the arc.

Queta has six of his blocked shots in the first half, as the Aggies took a 26-23 into the break. But Texas Tech stormed out with a 13-0 run, which turned into a 24-4 advantage, as the Red Raiders led 49-35. Utah State never got within eight points the rest of the way.

“Texas Tech is a really good team, we knew coming into hear we had to play our best to get a win against them,” said Queta. At the end of the day they outplayed us, in the second half.”

Queta’s seven blocked shots tied his own single-game school record.

“Not many guys in the world, I mean college basketball, NBA, pro basketball, in the world, can do something like that,” Utah State coach Craig Smith said, referring to Queta’s numbers. “He’s a star player, and your star players have to deliver, especially when the pressure is on and he did.”

Miller, Anderson and Rollie Worster all finished with six points for Utah State.

Terrance Shannon, Jr. and Kevin McCullar each had ten points for the Red Raiders.

Utah State (20-9) still has not won a game in the NCAA Tournament since beating Ohio State in 2001. The Aggies have lost nine straight in the Big Dance.

Texas Tech (18-10) moves on to play Arkansas in the round of 32 on Sunday.

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