Merrill, Miller, Queta Combine To Help Aggies Edge Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. – The Utah State Aggies picked up a hard-earned victory on the road in a 82-81 victory over Fresno State.
Utah State got revenge for a heartbreaking loss to Fresno State at home on Jan. 9. In that 78-77 loss, the Bulldogs nailed the winning shot with five seconds remaining in the game. So far, it has been the only home loss of the season for the Aggies.
This time it was a 3-pointer by the Aggies that buried Fresno State in the waning seconds.
Aggies Make It Rain
The Aggies roared out to a 20-9 run early led by early scoring by Sam Merrill and Brock Miller. Miller had two of the Aggies’ first four made 3-pointers as they started 4-for-6 from downtown.
Utah State would cool down in the first half, making just three of its next nine attempts from 3-point land. The Bulldogs cut into the lead, taking it down to just a 3-point Aggie lead before Utah State expanded the advantage to six at the halftime buzzer.
A little over four minutes into the second half, the Bulldogs caught the Aggies and tied the game at 50-all. Utah State then went on a quick 6-0 run to keep Fresno State at bay, thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by Miller and Merrill.
Fresno State kept the pressure up and tied the game up again at 62-all and then took the lead on a layup by Deshon Taylor with a little less than 10 minutes remaining.
The Aggies surged back and built a 6-point lead at 73-67 with five minutes to go thanks to another triple by Miller.
The Bulldogs kept fighting and cut the lead down to 77-75 with 40 seconds remaining. Rather than fouling the Aggies, they let them work the clock and take a shot to stretch the lead. Quinn Taylor made them pay with a dagger-three from the top of the arc to give Utah State a 5-point lead with 14 seconds remaining.
Fresno State’s Noah Blackwell made a three to bring the score back to just a 2-point lead for the Aggies but Merrill’s free throws with two seconds remaining iced the game and secured the win.
As a team, the Aggies shot a tremendous 12-of-26 from beyond the arc.
Merrill finshed with 20 points while Miller turned in 17 with five made triples.
Neemias Queta continued his stellar freshman campaign with a 18-point, 15-rebound double-double with six assists and four blocks.
The Aggies will next face San Diego State on Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.
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