Turnovers Hurt Utah State In MWC Title Game Loss To San Diego State

Mar 13, 2021, 6:13 PM
Neemias Queta - Utah State vs. San Diego State 2021 Title Game...
Nathan Mensah #31 of the San Diego State Aztecs defends against Neemias Queta #23 of the Utah State Aggies during the championship game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Turnovers hurt to the Utah State Aggies in their 68-57 loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West Tournament Championship.

Utah State committed 16 turnovers, while San Diego State had just 9 turnovers. The Aztecs scored 14 points off of turnovers and had seven more shot attempts.

Neemias Queta led USU with 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks, while shooting 7-of-11 from the field. Justin Bean added 12 points and six boards as Utah State shot 37 percent from the floor and 23 percent from beyond the arc.

Matt Mitchell scored 14 points to lead San Diego State. Nathan Mensah and Trey Pulliam added 10 points apiece.

Utah State Hangs With San Diego State In First Half Despite Turnovers

Utah State scored six points in the early going before going scoreless for a three-minute stretch, which led to a 6-0 San Diego State run. That run didn’t last long as the Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year Alphonso Anderson hit a three-pointer in the corner.

Anderson hit another big jumper, this time in the post as he pulled the Aggies within one point. SDSU was scoreless for over three minutes. San Diego State took a 28-24 lead at halftime. Both teams shot below 40 percent (USU 37 percent, SDSU 36 percent).

Queta had 12 points, three rebounds and three blocks in the first half. Matt Mitchell had 8 points to lead the Aztecs. Turnovers hurt the Aggies in the first half, committing eight miscues.

Turnovers Ultimately Hurt Aggies In Loss To Aztecs

San Diego State had a strong start to the second half on a 6-0 run. Utah State went without a bucket for five minutes dating back to the first half. SDSU was up 34-24 with 17:42 left in the game when USU head coach Craig Smith called a timeout.

Utah State would gain some ground on the SDSU lead but the Aztecs kept answering the mini runs. They trailed 42-34 with 11:52 left in the game. San Diego State had an 11-point lead with under nine minutes to play when Queta scored a layup. Nathan Mensah was then assessed a technical foul after being called for his second flop.

The Aggies had chances down the stretch to cut the lead to two or four points but would commit a costly turnover leading to San Diego State points.

Utah State dropped their record to 20-8 overall and 15-5 in Mountain West play. They are currently on the bubble of getting to the NCAA Tournament and will find out if they make the Big Dance on Selection Sunday at 4 p.m. on CBS.

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