Merrill Carries Aggies Past Colorado State In Overtime
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Utah State Aggies had to scratch and claw in their regular season finale, but they were able to get it done with a 100-96 in overtime over Colorado State.
With the win, the Aggies clinch a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title.
Sam Merrill led the way with a career-high 38 points and 8 rebounds to go with his 6 assists. He shot 15-for-23 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Quinn Taylor added 18 points and 6 rebounds, while Neemias Queta chipped in 12 points and 8 rebounds. The Aggies had five players reach double figures.
For Colorado State, J.D. Paige had 29 points to lead the Rams. Kris Martin poured in 20 points, while Nico Carvacho chipped in 19 points and 9 rebounds.
Strong Start For USU In First Half
The Aggies started the game on a 10-2 run before the Rams answered with a 5-0 run of their own to trail by 3 with 15 minutes left in the opening half.
From that point, Utah State narrowly held the lead with 7:38 left as they were up by four points, 27-23. The Aggies’ scoring attack was balanced with seven of the eight players that appeared in the game had scored.
Utah State had a 46-41 lead at the half.
CSU Comeback Sends Game To Overtime
The Rams cut the lead to one point before Sam Merrill stopped the CSU run, just four minutes into the second half.
Utah State went on a 7-0 run that was sparked by an 11-2 run to take a 61-51 lead with 14 minutes remaining in the game.
They made seven of their first 10 field goals to start the second half, while Colorado State made just three of their first 10.
Colorado State went on a 9-2 run to cut the lead to just one with six minutes left, the Aggies had to start figuring out other ways to score on the Rams.
The Aggies went over two minutes without a bucket.
The Rams took their first lead of the game with 4:48 left but Diogo Brito gave the lead back to USU on two made free throws.
Colorado State took a two point lead when Nico Carvacho scored a layup with 1:26 left.
Merrill tied the game with an impressive layup that was heavily contested.
Carvacho took the lead back with a made jump shot with 52 seconds left.
The Rams had the ball with 45 seconds left and held the possession until Neemias Queta blocked their shot with 27 seconds left. On the other end, Merrill tied the game with a pair of free throws with 19 seconds remaining.
J.D. Paige couldn’t hit the final shot in regulation for CSU as the game went to overtime.
After an easy layup for Queta, Utah State followed up with a big jump shot by Merrill.
Merrill came up big once again with a big shot to put the Aggies on an 8-0 run to lead 94-88 with 52 seconds left in overtime.
Colorado State trimmed the lead to two before having to foul Merrill, who hit both free throws.
— USU Men's Hoops (@USUBasketball) March 6, 2019
The Aggies improve to 25-6 on the season and 15-3 in Mountain West Conference play. They will be off until next week when the conference tournament begins in Las Vegas.
Utah State could be the No. 1 seed if Nevada loses one of their next two games. If the Wolf Pack win both games, the Aggies will be the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
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