LOGAN – The Aggies were able to survive a late CSU Bakersfield run to beat the Roadrunners 57-56 Thursday night. It was USU’s first of three games of the World Vision Classic.
Utah State had a 12-point lead with less than two minutes remaining, but came close to losing in the final moments. Three-straight Aggie turnovers helped the Roadrunners score nine-straight points, bringing the score to 56-53 with 25 seconds left. The following play, USU freshman Julion Pearre threw the ball out of bounds attempting to get it to a wide-open Sean Harris at the opposite end of the court.
“That was a fiasco at the end,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “I mean just sheer panic.”
The turnover got the Roadrunners the ball back with 17 seconds remaining, but their chance at tying the game was lost when Harris drew a charge and subsequently hit a free throw to give the Aggies a four-point lead with six seconds left in the game. A CSU Bakersfield 3-point shot at the buzzer gave the Roadrunners a one-point loss.
“We’re lucky to get out of there with a win,” Morrill said.
For the second game in a row, poor shooting contributed to a low-scoring first half. USU went into the break up 20-18 after shooting 6-22 from the field. A seven-minute scoring drought and poor rebounding only added to the problem. The Aggies were outrebounded 44-24 during the game.
“We’re having a hard time scoring and we’re having a hard time rebounding,” Morrill said. “Those are the areas that are a problem for us for sure.”
The Aggies shot a little better in the second half, going 11-20 from the field.
“We just need to find our shots,” junior guard Chris Smith said. “We’ll get it.”
Freshman David Collette helped get things going for the Aggies in the second half. Collette had 15 second-half points, bringing his game total to 18.
“We went to David a lot and he responded,” Morrill said. “We finally started executing.”
Smith scored 15 points and Jalen Moore added 12. Moore also led the Aggies with 6 rebounds. The win was the first of the season USU has won after leading at the half and it improved the Aggies to 5-4. The team will continue the World Vision Classic Friday at 8 p.m. against South Dakota State in the Spectrum.