ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Utah State men’s basketball (8-11, 2-6 Mountain West) lost to New Mexico (13-8, 6-3 Mountain West) 74-61 Tuesday night at the WisePies Arena aka The Pit.
USU was led by freshman guard Koby McEwen with 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal. Senior wing Jalen Moore scored in double-figures for his 32nd consecutive game and 80th in his career with 14 points, to go along with seven boards and two assists. Redshirt sophomore wing Alexis Dargenton had a career-high four blocks and also scored seven points, had two rebounds and an assist.
McEwen knocked down a three to give Utah State its first points of the night, followed by layups from freshman guard Sam Merrill and Moore which brought the Aggies to within one, 8-7, with 16:15 left in the first half. Back-to-back buckets from Dargenton, followed by a Moore layup gave the Aggies a 13-11 lead with 13:03 to play. The teams continued trading buckets before the Lobos scored five points to lead 20-17 with 8:19 remaining in the opening half, but McEwen responded with five points of his own to put USU up 22-20 with 7:22 left in the first.
New Mexico led by four, 29-25, with 2:45 remaining, but a couple of free throws from McEwen and a layup from sophomore forward Quinn Taylor tied it up at 29-29 with under a minute to play in the half. An and-1 for the Lobos gave the home side the 32-29 lead going into the break.
The Aggies came to within one, 36-35, after a free throw from Moore, a trey from McEwen and a Dargenton dunk with 18:02 remaining. New Mexico then went on a 16-6 run, including 10 consecutive points from redshirt junior guard Elijah Brown, to lead 52-41 with 11:35 left to play. A jumper from Moore followed by a pair of 3s from senior guard Shane Rector and Merrill brought the Aggies back within five, 54-49, with 9:22 remaining. However, the Lobos held the Aggies scoreless for over six minutes using a 10-0 run to lead 64-49 with three and a half minutes left in the game.
Rector ended the drought with a triple to cut the lead to 64-52 with 3:15 remaining, sparking an 11-2 Utah State run. Free throws from McEwen, a trey from Moore and a tip-in from Rector made it a six-point game, 66-60, with 1:36 to play. However, New Mexico made eight free throws in the final minute and a half to seal the win, 74-61.
The Lobos were led by Brown who finished the night with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal. Redshirt senior forward Tim Williams had 13 points, five rebounds and two assists. Redshirt sophomore forward Connor MacDougall came off of the bench and had ten points, two rebounds and two blocks.
Utah State finished the game shooting 45.1 percent (23-of-51), including 35.3 percent (6-of-17) from behind the arc, while shooting 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from the free throw line. New Mexico shot 50.0 percent (27-of-54) from the floor, 25.0 percent (3-of-12) from behind the 3-point line and 100.0 percent (17-of-17) from the free throw line.
USU will next face Fresno State (13-7, 5-3 Mountain West) on Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The game will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network 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 @USUBasketball. 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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