LOGAN, Utah – Utah State missed 13 of its 23 free throws against in-state rival BYU on Saturday night and those struggles proved costly as the Aggies lost 75-66 in front of 10,206 fans at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Sophomore guard Koby McEwen led Utah State (5-4) with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, but only 3-of-9 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Aggies shot 43.5 percent from the free throw line.
Fellow sophomore guard Sam Merrill added 14 points for Utah State, while senior forward Alex Dargenton chipped in 10. Junior forward Dwayne Brown Jr. nearly finished with a double-double, recording nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
The Cougars (6-2), winners of three straight and four of their last five, had four players score in double figures, led by Yoeli Childs and McKay Cannon with 17 apiece. Elijah Bryant had 15 points and TJ Haws tallied 10.
Junior guard DeAngelo Isby knocked down a pair of free throws with 12:58 remaining in the second half to give the Aggies their final lead of the night at 41-39.
A dunk by Dargenton tied the game at 43-all with 10:42 left, but BYU took the lead for good on a layup by Cannon less than a minute later. The Cougars’ lead grew to as many as 11 with 2:30 to go and they kept the Aggies at bay by knocking down 16 of their 19 second-half free throws.
Utah State led for the majority of the first half as both teams struggled to score early on. In fact, BYU didn’t break out of single digits until the 5:01 mark when Jahshire Hardnett scored on a layup.
The Aggies took their largest lead of the game when Merrill hit a 3-pointer to make it 15-7 with 8:42 left until halftime. A 3-ball by McEwen gave Utah State an 18-11 lead, but the Cougars ended the half on a 21-9 run to go into the break leading 28-24.
Utah State shot 43.6 percent for the game (24-of-55), including 32.0 percent from beyond the arc (8-of-25). BYU shot 44.2 percent on the night (23-of-52), but only 27.8 percent from 3-point range (5-of-18). At the line, the Cougars only missed four attempts, going 24-of-28 (85.7 percent).
Utah State will remain at home on Wednesday when the Aggies welcome UC Irvine to the Spectrum. The game will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network and is set to tip off at 7 p.m.
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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