by Wade Denniston, USU Athletic Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah – Utah State erased a 22-point first-half deficit against Wyoming, but could not finish off the comeback in an 85-77 loss to the Cowboys in front of 7,148 fans on Saturday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Following a 3-pointer by redshirt freshman forward Daron Henson, the Aggies (10-11, 3-5 Mountain West) led 15-14 with 12:49 to go in the first half. However, the Cowboys (12-7, 3-3) reeled off a 27-4 run over the next 8:29 of the game and opened their largest lead of the night at 41-19.
To Utah State’s credit, the Aggies didn’t roll over. USU came roaring out of the gates following intermission, using a 27-12 spurt to pull within 54-52 with 13:47 remaining.
The Aggies eventually regained the lead at 62-61 with 7:16 to go following a couple of free throws by sophomore guard Koby McEwen. Two more free throws by junior forward Dwayne Brown Jr. less than two minutes later gave Utah State its final lead of the night, 64-63.
Wyoming closed the game on a 22-13 run, making seven of its final nine shots from the field and going 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. Alan Herndon paced four Cowboys in double figures with 21 points, while Hayden Dalton added 20 points, Hunter Maldonado chipped in 14 and Justin James contributed 11.
Five Aggies finished in double-figure scoring, including sophomore guard Sam Merrill, who had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. McEwen recorded the first double-double of his career with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Although he shot just 3-of-14 from the field, he knocked down all 10 of his free throws.
Henson came off the bench to score 12 points for Utah State, sophomore guard Diogo Brito had 11 points and seven rebounds and Brown finished with 10 points.
Utah State shot 42.6 percent from the field (23-of-54), including 42.3 percent from 3-point range (11-of-26), and 80.0 percent from the charity stripe (20-of-25). The Aggies had 17 assists on the night as five different players had at least three helpers each.
Wyoming shot 45.8 percent from the field (27-of-59), including 35.7 percent from beyond the arc (10-of-28) and 84.0 percent from the free throw line (21-of-25).
Utah State is slated to return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 24, against Air Force at 7 p.m. at the Spectrum. However, due to the government shutdown, the game may not take place as all Air Force home and away athletic events have been canceled until further notice.
Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook (facebook.com/usumen’sbasketball) and on Twitter (@usubasketball). Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube (youtube.com/utahstateathletics). Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter (@usuathletics), on Facebook (facebook.com/usuathletics) or on Instagram (@usuathletics).
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