Merrill’s Big Second Half Helps Utah State Past Florida

Dec 21, 2019, 3:07 PM | Updated: 10:55 pm

SUNRISE, Fla. – Utah State star Sam Merrill came up big for the Aggies in their 65-62 win over the Florida Gators in the Orange Bowl Classic.

The Aggies had the ball with a three point lead and under two minutes remaining when Merrill received the ball at the top of the three-point line when a Gator defender closed out on him but Merrill pump faked the defender and took a step to his left and fired a three pointer to give the Aggies a six point lead.

Merrill finished with 21 points, scoring 13 in the second half. He also had a career-high 9 rebounds and 5 assists while shooting 8-18 from the field and 5-10 from downtown, he didn’t attempt a free throw.

Utah State had to play the entire second half without their center Neemias Queta, who left the game late in the first half with an injury. He didn’t attempt a shot but did have two rebounds and two assists in 10 minutes on the floor.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball to start the game, Florida went 0-14 and Utah State started 3-12 from the field. The game picked up offensively later in the contest. Florida finished the game shooting 20-62 (32%) from the field, 4-17 (23%) from beyond the arc and 18-22 from the free throw line. Kerry Blackshear led all scorers with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Utah State shot 24-53 (45%) from the field, 9-25 (36%) from the perimeter and 8-11 from the charity stripe. Helping out Merrill for the Aggies was Justin Bean with 12 points and 9 rebounds, Diogo Brito added 11 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds off the bench.

The Aggies improved their record to 12-2 on the season and will finish their non-conference slate on Saturday, December 28 when they host Eastern Oregon at the Spectrum. The game will tip-off at 2 p.m.

  • Utah State Aggies Scoreboard

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  • Utah State Aggies Standings


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