Logan, Utah—It’s been nearly five years since the Utah State basketball team was in any position to win its conference regular season. There was a lot riding on a victory over San Diego State something the program hasn’t done since 1998.
The Aggies leaned on their defense to secure their first victory over the Aztecs in Mountain West play, holding the Aztecs to 15% inside the 3pt arc in the first half.
“We want to be the toughest team that anyone plays. I think, we did that with our rebounding and our defensive edge,” says USU senior forward, Quinn Taylor.
With Neemias Queta picking up his third foul late in the first half, USU head coach Craig Smith went to crowd favorite, freshman Justin Bean.
Bean sparked the Aggies with the first six points in the second half, before Sam Merrill took the Aggies the rest of the way finishing with 19 points.
A 70-54 victory over San Diego State opens the door for a battle for the MWC regular season title.
The Aggies who were predicted to finish ninth, returning two key players and a new head coach have an opportunity to claim the conference title from the Nevada Wolfpack Saturday night in Logan.
The “sleeping giant” woke up against the Aztecs, as the Spectrum was nearing capacity for the first time all year long. Something the Aggies feed on, and rely on for big games.
“The energy is so contagious, and it just willed our guys. It’s amazing what kind of an impact that has on winning,” says Smith.
A sellout is in store for the conference battle between the two teams atop the Mountain West, but the Aggies who have already pretty much locked up the 2 seed in the conference have bigger goals in mind.
Something Smith has been preaching all year long.
“We want to win the conference championship.”
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