by Ashley Springer, Utah State Athletic Media Relations
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Utah State men’s basketball (8-9, 2-4 Mountain West) lost to San Diego State (10-7, 2-3 Mountain West) 74-55 on Saturday night at Viejas Arena.
Freshman guard Sam Merrill scored in double figures for his fourth straight game since being inserted into the starting lineup with a career-high 18 points, along with three assists, one steal and one rebound. Senior wing Jalen Moore scored in double figures for his 30th consecutive game with 13 points and collected three boards. Redshirt sophomore wing Alexis Dargenton led the Aggies with seven rebounds and added eight points.
A three from Merrill and a jumper from freshman guard Koby McEwen gave USU an early 5-2 lead with 17:30 to play in the opening half. After an and-1 from Moore brought the Aggies within one, 12-11, with 15:16 remaining in the first, SDSU scored seven straight points to lead 19-11 with 13:34 left to play in the first half. Moore hit a couple jumpers to trim San Diego State’s lead to 21-15 with 12:16 remaining in the half. The Aztecs proceeded on a 10-0 run to lead 31-15 with 9:18 left to play in the first. SDSU went 12-of-12 from the field during the stretch.
Senior guard Shane Rector ended the run with a triple to cut the Aztecs lead to 31-18 with 8:37 left in the first, sparking a 14-0 Aggie run. McEwen continued the run with a jumper, followed by a couple of free throws and back-to-back layups from Merrill. Moore punctuated the run with a trey to bring the Aggies to within two, 31-29, with 5:38 left in the half. San Diego State responded with another 10-0 run to lead 41-29 with 2:20 to play in the first. Moore ended the run with a 3-pointer and McEwen ended the half with a layup to bring it to 41-34 going into the break.
SDSU opened the second on a 11-0 run to lead 52-34 with 17:47 remaining. Dargenton ended the run with a layup to cut SDSU’s lead 52-36 with 17:24 left to play. The Aztecs maintained their advantage and led by as many as 25, 66-41, with 10:35 to play. A three from junior guard Julion Pearre trimmed San Diego State’s lead to 66-44 with 10:17 remaining in the game. Back-to-back buckets from Dargenton brought the Aggies to within 19, 68-49, with four-and-a-half-minutes left. Merrill knocked down a trey with 3:26 left to play to cut San Diego State’s lead to 71-52. Merrill laid it in for the final points of the game as the Aggies lost, 74-55.
San Diego State was led by sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley with 14 points, three assists, one rebound and one steal. Senior forward Matt Shrigley had 14 points and one rebound, assist and steal. Junior guard Trey Kell had 12 points, five assists and three rebounds.
Utah State finished the game shooting 38.0 percent (19-of-50), including 43.8 percent (7-of-16) from behind the arc, while shooting 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from the free throw line. SDSU shot 57.1 percent (28-of-49) from the floor, 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from behind the 3-point line and 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from the free throw line.
USU will next face Colorado State (11-7, 3-2 Mountain West) on Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The game will be broadcast on Campus Insiders and tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (MT).
For Aggie basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook facebook.com/USUmen’sbasketball and on Twitter @Aggiehoops. Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube at youtube.com/UtahStateAthletics. Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program at Twitter @USUAthletics, on Facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics, or on Instagram @USUAthletics.
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