Utah State Looks To Win Fifth Straight Against Struggling Wyoming

Feb 18, 2020, 3:17 PM
(Photo courtesy of Rick Parker, USU Athletics)...
(Photo courtesy of Rick Parker, USU Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Rick Parker, USU Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah – The Utah State Aggies are heading down the home stretch of their regular season with just three games remaining. They will try to win their fifth straight game when they host the Wyoming Cowboys on Wednesday night.

The Aggies are 21-7 overall and 10-5 in Mountain West play, sitting in second place in the conference standings and are just a half of a game in front on Colorado State.

Wyoming is 6-20 overall and just 1-13 in conference play and are in last place in the Mountain West standings.

The Cowboys lead the all-time series over Utah State 31-23, but since they became conference foes in 2013, the series is tied at 7. Utah State has won the last three meetings including the first meeting this season in Laramie when the Aggies picked up a 68-45 win on January 28.

Sam Merrill Is Playing Very Well

Utah State star guard Sam Merrill has been tremendous during the four game winning streak for the Aggies. In the last four wins, Merrill is averaging 23.2 points, 3 rebounds and 4.2 assists during the winning streak and is shooting 53 percent from the floor and 44 percent from the three-point line. Overall this season, the defending Mountain West Player of the Year is posting 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 44 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc.

He was named Mountain West Player of the Week this past week after two great performances against Colorado State and Fresno State. On Tuesday evening last week against the Rams, Merrill became the fourth Utah State player in history to score 2,000 career points. He also moved up the Aggies’ career-scoring list to No. 3 by passing Wayne Estes.

Along with Merrill’s fantastic play, Neemias Queta is playing like his normal healthy self again. The reigning Mountain West Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year is averaging 15.7 points, 8.5 boards and 2.7 blocks as well as shooting 61 percent from the field during the four-game winning streak. This season, Queta is recording 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks on 64 percent shooting from the floor.

In Utah State’s win at Wyoming earlier this season, Merrill led the way with 14 points, while Alphonso Anderson contributed 13 points off the bench.

Wyoming In Middle Of Rebuild

The Cowboys are struggling this season as expected. Head coach Allen Edwards is in his fourth season at the helm for Wyoming. Redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado leads the Cowboys in every statistical category with 17 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. He and Kwane Marble led Wyoming with 14 points apiece when they faced the Aggies at the end of January.

Maldonado is the only Wyoming player to average double figures in scoring.

The Cowboys have lost their last three games and 11 of their last 12 games. Their only conference win was on February 1 against San Jose State.

Utah State and Wyoming will square off on Wednesday night at the Spectrum in Logan. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN 3.

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