by Ashley Springer, USU Athletic Media Relations
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Utah State men's basketball (8-7, 1-1 Mountain West) lost 79-59 to San Diego State (9-4, 1-1 Mountain West) Saturday night at Viejas Arena.
Sophomore guard Sam Merrill led USU with 18 points, 13 in the second half, along with two rebounds, one assist and a steal. Sophomore guard Koby McEwen scored 15 points and collected seven rebounds. Junior guard DeAngelo Isby had 15 points, three rebounds and a block. Senior forward Alex Dargenton led the team with three blocks and a career-high four assists, along with four points and four boards.
San Diego State opened the game with back-to-back baskets, taking a 4-0 lead, and then used a 15-2 run to take a 21-7 advantage with 11:10 on the clock. A 3-pointer by Merrill with 6:30 on the clock and a layup by Isby at 3:09 in the first half trimmed the margin back to single digits, but the Aztecs answered with counter runs each time, taking a 43-29 lead into the half. San Diego State made the most out of 13 Utah State turnovers in the first half, turning the miscues into 17 points.
Merrill knocked down a couple of treys and a jumper to bring the Aggies within 10, 47-37, with 16:38 to play. The teams went back and forth until the Aztecs used a 10-0 run to extend the lead to 70-49 with 7:11 on the clock. Buckets from Isby and Merrill cut San Diego State's lead to 17, 70-53, with just under five minutes to play, but SDSU would go on to win it 79-59.
Junior guard Devin Watson led SDSU with 15 points, along with three rebounds, one assist and a steal. Junior forward Max Montana had 14 points, two rebounds and one assist. Senior forward Malik Pope had 13 points, seven boards, two assists and two steals. Redshirt freshman forward Jalen McDaniels had 13 points, eight rebounds, one assist and a block.
Utah State finished the game shooting 43.8 percent (21-of-48), including 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from behind the arc, while shooting a season-high 88.9 percent (8-of-9) from the free throw line. San Diego State shot 44.6 percent (29-of-65) from the floor, 34.8 percent (8-of-23) from behind the 3-point line and 65.0 percent (13-of-20) from the free throw line.
Utah State returns to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Wednesday, hosting Fresno State (11-4, 1-1 Mountain West). Tip-off is set for 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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