UTAH STATE AGGIES

Sam Merrill Held Scoreless By Washington In First Half Of NCAA Tourney Game

Mar 22, 2019, 5:49 PM | Updated: 5:54 pm
Sam Merrill #5 of the Utah State Aggies looks to shoot against Hameir Wright #13 and Matisse Thybul...
Sam Merrill #5 of the Utah State Aggies looks to shoot against Hameir Wright #13 and Matisse Thybulle #4 of the Washington Huskies during the first half of the game in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Utah State had a great start to their NCAA Tournament game against Washington, but the Huskies used their defense to shut down Sam Merrill and the Aggies to take a 40-28 halftime lead.

Merrill was held scoreless in the first half on 0-for-3 shooting from the field and 0-of-2 from downtown. He also had 1 rebound, 2 assists and 2 turnovers.

The Aggies started the game by exploiting the Huskies defense, scoring five unanswered points.

By the first media timeout, Utah State held an 11-8 lead, five minutes into the game. Brock Miller and Quinn Tayler combined for 9 of their 11 points.

Washington’s interior defense sparked a 9-0 run to lead 14-11 midway through the first half. They had three blocks and were doing a great job protecting the rim.

The Aggies answered with a 6-0 run to re-gain the lead, 17-14.

With under four minutes left in the opening half, the Huskies took their biggest lead of the game to that point, 34-25. Utah State had 10 turnovers in the 16 minutes of play.

After trailing by 11, Abel Porter hit a big three-pointer to trim the deficit to 8 with one minute left in the first half.

Washington went to the locker room with a 40-28 lead.

Miller finished the first half with 8 points, Justin Bean added 6 points off the bench and Porter, Neemias Queta and Taylor had 4 points apiece.

For Washington, Noah Dickerson had 14 points and Jaylen Nowell chipped in 11 points to combine for 25 of their 40 points.

Utah State had 11 first half turnovers, while the Huskies collected 5 steals and 3 blocks.

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