by Ashley Springer, Utah State Athletic Media Relations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Utah State men's basketball (3-3) defeated Northeastern (2-3), 71-67, on Friday at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., marking the Aggies' first road win of the season.
Sophomore guard Sam Merrill led the Aggies in scoring for the third consecutive game, finishing with 19 points and adding a team-best three assists, along with two rebounds and a season-high two steals. Junior guard DeAngelo Isby scored in double figures for the fifth time in six games, finishing with 14 points and adding three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior forward Alex Dargenton rounded out the double-digit scorers, finishing with 10 points and adding a team-best six rebounds, in addition to two assists and a career-high-tying two steals.
After a 5-0 start by Northeastern, Merrill knocked down a three to make it 5-3 with 18:20 on the clock. A pair of layups from sophomore guard Diogo Brito and Dargenton tied it up at 7-7 with 15:58 left to play in the first. Another Merrill trey gave Utah State its first lead of the game, 10-9, with 15:18 remaining. The Huskies took back the lead, 15-13, but a 3-pointer and layup from Brito, along with a Dargenton free throw put USU up four, 19-15, with 8:44 left to play. The teams continued swapping the lead, with sophomore guard Koby McEwen knocking down a triple with 15 seconds left, but Northeastern hit a three at the buzzer to take a 33-32 lead going into the break.
The Huskies maintained their lead early in the second half, but a jumper by junior forward Dwayne Brown Jr., a free throw by junior forward Quinn Taylor, a McEwen layup, Taylor dunk and a couple of McEwen free throws, put the Aggies back on top, 45-43, with 13:11 on the clock. After Northeastern took the 50-47 lead, Utah State scored nine straight behind buckets from Brown, Merrill and Dargenton, free throws from Isby and Dargenton, to put USU up 56-50 with 7:06 remaining. An Isby layup put the Aggies up 67-60 with 59 seconds on the clock, but the Huskies brought it back to within one, 68-67, with nine seconds to play. Free throws from Brito and Dargenton secured the Utah State victory, 71-67.
Northeastern was led by redshirt junior guard Vasa Pusica with 27 points, two assists, two steals and a rebound. Sophomore forward Maxime Boursiquot had eight points, seven rebounds and an assist. Senior guard Devon Begley had five points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Utah State finished the game shooting 50.0 percent (23-of-46), including 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from behind the arc, while shooting 61.3 percent (19-of-31) from the free throw line. Northeastern shot 52.2 percent (24-of-46) from the floor, 45.0 percent (9-of-20) from behind the 3-point line and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the free throw line.
Utah State will next face New Hampshire (1-4) on Saturday at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. (MT).
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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