Utah State Fades Away In Second Half As NCAA Drought Continues In Loss To Texas Tech

Mar 19, 2021, 2:01 PM | Updated: 4:36 pm
Utah State - Texas Tech - NCAA Tournament...
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA - MARCH 19: Rollie Worster #24 of the Utah State Aggies drives to the basket against Kevin McCullar #15 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second half in the first round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Assembly Hall on March 19, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana – The Utah State NCAA Tournament drought will extend past two decades as the Aggies fall in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament 65-53 to Texas Tech.

Utah State closes the season with a 20-9 record.

Justin Bean led the Aggies in scoring with 13 points. Texas Tech’s Mac McClung dropped 16 points to lead the Red Raiders in the victory. Tech head coach Chris Beard now improves to 9-2 at Texas Tech in NCAA Tournament games.

Neemias Queta is the second player in an NCAA game to record 10 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks. The other player is Ekpe Udoh from Baylor in 2010 NCAA Tournament. Queta finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 5 assists.

Here’s a recap of the action from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

Texas Tech dominates in 2nd Half

Texas Tech 65, Utah State 53 (END): A physically draining game for Utah State, the Aggies never threatened Texas Tech in the final three minutes and change.

Texas Tech 58, Utah State 45 (3:24): Texas Tech playing with a ton of confidence on the offensive end. They aren’t showing as much trepidation going at Queta either. Queta has only had one block so far in the second half.

Tech has even had success on the offensive glass against the 7-foot big man.

Everyone who has logged minutes for the Aggies today has a plus-minus currently in the negative. Steven Ashworth is the best at (-2).

Texas Tech 49, Utah State 40 (7:39): The Aggie offense found some life, but they didn’t have an answer on the defensive end. Tech shows their depth with how Mac McClung has only scored four points so far, and they still find themselves up by nine.

McClung jacked up a rushed shot with the shot clock expiring. The ball clanked off the rim for a loose ball, Brock Miller trying to get the ball bumped into a Tech player for a foul. It’s been that kind of half for the Aggies.

Texas Tech 41, Utah State 33 (12:46): Utah State struggling to find answers early in the second half. Texas Tech is shooting 72 percent from the field and has jumped out to an eight-point lead.

It doesn’t help matters when Utah State has 17 turnovers in the game so far to Tech’s 7.

Texas Tech 33, Utah State 31 (14:52): Tech’s Terrence Shannon Jr. put the Red Raiders on his back in the opening minutes of the second half. Shannon scored six points to put Tech back in front.

Halftime Observations from Utah State/Texas Tech

Utah State has been a feast or famine team all year from the three-point line. It’s a famine game through 20 minutes as the Aggies are shooting only 13 percent from deep (1-8).

On the flip side, the three-ball is keeping Texas Tech in the game with Utah State. The Red Raiders are 3-8 from three. A modest 38% compared to the 28% they are shooting from the field as a whole.

Queta on the defensive end has made his presence felt early and often on the defensive end. Chris Beard said this week that Queta is a future pro, and he’s showing why. He has six blocks and numerous shots altered by his presence.

Justin Bean’s team-high 10 points were critical. The Aggies were struggling to find their footing on the offensive end. He gave a huge life.

Marco Anthony’s defense on Mac McClung has been as good as you could ask for. McClung has nine points to lead Tech, but he’s only 3-9, and none of his shots have come easy.

Five offensive rebounds are far too many for a smaller Tech team against Utah State. The Aggies are outrebounding Tech by 10 but limit the second chance opportunities in the second half.

Defensive battle in First Half leads to Utah State on top

Utah State 26, Texas Tech 23 (HALF): Justin Bean came alive to close the first half for Utah State. Bean gave USU three field goals. The first two forced Chris Beard to burn a 30-second timeout with 2:47 remaining.

Marco Anthony built the Aggie lead to 24-20; then Mac McClung hit a three. There was a missed possession by USU after Queta gave Ashworth a high pass forcing him to leave the ground to catch the pass. When Ashworth came down, he stepped out of bounds.

Bean hit his third field goal of the final minutes after USU had an excellent defensive possession forcing the Red Raiders into another shot-clock violation.

Texas Tech 20, Utah State 17 (3:42): The Aggies’ first three of the game came courtesy of Brock Miller with five minutes to go in the first half.

Steven Ashworth continued to build on the momentum for USU with a nice defensive possession forcing Tech into a shot clock violation.

Utah State 12, Texas Tech 12 (7:29): Offense is optional in this one. After a grueling Mountain West Conference Tournament that wore down the Aggies physically, maybe there’s still some hangover.

Costly turnovers by Neemias Queta and Brock Miller looking to make extra passes ended possessions. There were opportunities to rise and fire. It feels like a time for Queta to take over this game in the post.

Utah State 10, Texas Tech 9 (11:01): Both teams displayed why they are two of the top defensive teams in the country. Scoring has come to a halt.

Freshman Steven Ashworth had some early minutes where he struggled. Craig Smith inserted Brock Miller, who immediately brought a calming influence, gathering a loose ball.

Moments out of the timeout, Utah State had to burn a 30-second timeout after not getting inbounds in. Then out of the timeout, they turn the ball over.

Utah State 10, Texas Tech 5 (14:39): After getting down 5-0 by a pair of buckets from Kevin McCullar, the Aggies settled in and reeled off a 10-0 run at the first media stoppage.

Early on, Marco Anthony was putting the clamp down on Tech star Mac McClung.

Neemias Queta showed patience in the post passing to teammates. And the select family members of players and coaches from Utah State were making themselves heard here at Assembly Hall. Only 500 fans are in attendance.

Follow Mitch Harper and his NCAA Tournament 2021 coverage from Indianapolis with BYU and Utah State by following KSL Sports on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and the KSL Sports app.

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