Utah State Wins First MW Tournament Championship With Win Over San Diego State

Mar 16, 2019, 6:38 PM | Updated: 8:26 pm
Utah State Aggies guard Sam Merrill (5) goes to the hoop during the Mountain West Conference finals...
Utah State Aggies guard Sam Merrill (5) goes to the hoop during the Mountain West Conference finals against the San Diego State Aztecs at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 16, 2019. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Utah State Aggies won their first ever Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship with a 64-57 win over the San Diego State Aztecs.

The difference in the game was a 13-0 run by the Aggies to start the second half after holding just a two point lead at halftime.

Sam Merrill finished with a game-high 24 points to go with his 6 rebounds. Neemias Queta had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.

For San Diego State, Devin Watson scored 18 points as the only Aztec player to reach double figures in scoring.

Tightly Contest First Half

Utah State was working the ball down low in the post to Queta early on and working the ball from inside out. The Aggies had a 7-5 lead, just five minutes into the game.

Abel Porter had the hot hand midway through the first half with 10 points, including 4-for-4 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from downtown.

With four minutes left in the opening half, San Diego State made four straight field goals and took a one point lead.

The Aggies countered with some big buckets and had a 30-26 lead, forcing the Aztecs to call a timeout with 3:16 left in the half.

Out of the timeout, Watson made a three-pointer and was fouled. He tied up the game with a made free-throw.

Utah State had a 34-32 lead at the half.

Queta led the Aggies in the first half with 11 points and 5 rebounds. Sam Merrill made 3-of-9 from the field and recorded 9 points.

Watson finished with 12 points in the opening half to lead the Aztecs.

Aggies Go On Big Run

Queta scored four straight points for the Aggies, giving them their biggest lead of the game to that point, 38-32, just 90 seconds into the second half.

That sparked a 13-0 run to start the half and the Aggies were up 47-32 with 15:27 left in the game.

Merrill hit one three-pointer and Brock Miller hit two three pointers.

Late in the first half, the Aggies didn’t make a field goal in over four minutes and the Aggies trimmed the lead to 57-49 with 3:45 left.

Watson hit a deep three-pointer to put San Diego State within five with one minute left.

The Aggies held off the Aztecs and picked up the win and their first conference tournament championship in the Mountain West.

Up Next

Utah State will wait to find out who and where they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. The Selection Sunday show is on Sunday at 4 p.m. on CBS.

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Utah State Wins First MW Tournament Championship With Win Over San Diego State