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Utah State Escapes New Mexico Despite 24 Turnovers

Utah State Aggies guard Sam Merrill (5) passes during a Mountain West Conference Tournament quarterfinal game against the New Mexico Lobos at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Utah State Aggies had to overcome 24 turnovers, but they were able to pick up a big 91-83 win over the New Mexico Lobos in the quarterfinal round of the Mountain West Tournament.

Sam Merrill dealt with foul trouble, but still managed to post 23 points and 9 assists. Neemias Queta contributed 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 blocks. Justin Bean had a career night with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

New Mexico was led by Vance Jackson with 25 points, Corey Manigault added 16 points and Anthony Mathis put up 14 points.

The Lobos scored 22 points off of Utah State’s 24 turnovers, but the Aggies made 35 free-throws on 45 attempts.

Turnover Ridden Half For Aggies

Through the eight minutes of the game, the lead changed three times with Utah State’s biggest lead being three points and New Mexico’s was two points.

With eight minutes left, they were tied at 23. The Aggies had 9 turnovers at that point, but when they didn’t commit any turnovers, they were efficient shooting the ball at 61 percent.

New Mexico went scoreless over a two minute span, but the Aggies missed five straight field goals.

Dwayne Brown converted an and-one to tie the game in the final seconds of the half.

Utah State committed 15 turnovers in the first 20 minutes due to the feisty full-court press of New Mexico. The Lobos scored 13 points off of those miscues.

Aggies Slug Out Second Half

The turnovers continued for the Aggies in the second half with four miscues in the first four minutes and the Lobos on a 6-0 to take their biggest lead of the game, 52-44.

New Mexico head coach Paul Weir received a technical foul and the Aggies scored after making two free throws to trim the lead to 54-48.

Utah State tied the game with a 6-0, getting great looks at the rim.

Sam Merrill hit a big three-pointer to take a one point lead, but on the next possession, New Mexico drilled a triple.

When the Lobos had a 78-76 lead, Abel Porter scored a layup while getting fouled.

Leading by one point, Diogo Brito nailed a big three-pointer to give the Aggies a little bit of breathing room with 2 minutes left.

Up Next

Utah State will advance to the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament. They will face the winner of No. 3 Fresno State and No. 6 Air Force on Friday at 9:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

The Aggies won both meetings against Air Force, but they split their two meetings with Fresno State.