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Merrill Scores Season-High In Aggies Big Road Win Over Colorado State

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Utah State Aggies made some big shots down the stretch and made some key stops on defense in order to get a big 75-72 win over Colorado State to snatch the No. 2 spot in the Mountain West Conference standings.

The reigning conference Player of the Year Sam Merrill led the way with a season-high 32 points, including 20 points in the second half to go with his 4 rebounds and 5 assists on 12-18 shooting from the field and 6-10 from downtown.

Entering the game, Merrill needed just 4 points to reach 2,000 career points. He reached that milestone early in the game. After reaching 2,000 points, Merrill’s next buck put him past Wayne Estes for third all-time in scoring in Utah State history. The senior now trails only Greg Grant and Jaycee Carroll.

With 30 seconds left in the game, the Aggies had a one point lead when Merrill went one-on-one with Colorado State forward Nico Carvacho before pulling up and drilling a three-pointer to put Utah State ahead by 4 points.

The Aggies had a strong start in the second half after outscoring the Rams 37-30 in the first half. But, after the strong start, Colorado State went on a 10-0. Utah State stuck with it.

Neemias Queta added 14 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks on 7-11 shooting. Diogo Brito chipped in 11 points off the bench.

As a team, Utah State shot 50 percent from the floor, 33 percent from downtown and attempted just four free throws, all late in the second half.

Leading the Rams was Isaiah Stevens with 19 points and 7 assists. Carvacho nearly had a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Colorado State converted 51 percent of their shots, 36 percent of their three-point attempts and went just 4-8 from the foul line.

Utah State improved their record to 20-7 overall and 9-5 in Mountain West Conference play. They will finish their two-game road trip on Saturday against Fresno State. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.