Taylor Funk Leads Utah State To Blowout Win Over Santa Clara

Nov 14, 2022, 8:57 PM
(Courtesy of USU Athletics)
(Courtesy of USU Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah – A punishing Utah State attack wore down Santa Clara, pulling away in the second half for an eye-opening 96-74 victory.

Utah State (3-0) hosted the Santa Clara Broncos (2-1) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Monday, November 14. It was the third of 13 non-conference games the Aggies will play this season.

Taylor Funk led the Aggies in their third straight home win, adding a 22 point, 11 rebound double-double. Funk added five steals for good measure.

Before Steven Ashworth went down with an apparent ankle injury late, he had scored 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting including 4-of-6 from downtown. Rylan Jones added nine points and eight assists.

First Half

Utah State started the half on fire, hitting five of their first seven shot while building an 11-5 lead against the Broncos.

The Mountain West’s leading rebounder, Taylor Funk led the charge as he corralled two early defensive rebounds and threw down a pair of thunderous dunks on his way to six points before the first timeout.

Santa Clara weathered the storm, using a 7-0 run to take a 15-13 lead with 14 minutes left in the half.

After missing seven of eight shots at one point, Rylan Jones stopped the bleeding when he knocked down back-to-back left wing three’s, giving USU a 22-17 lead. Jones has three assists while shooting a perfect 3-of-3 from deep.

After beginning the game with three shots at the basket, Funk moved outside, knocking down three triples on his way to 19 first half points.

Junior guard Steven Ashworth added two three’s to help Utah State build a 10-point advantage, 42-32 going into the final media timeout.

Eight first half steals helped Utah State’s defense overcome 43 percent first half shooting from the Broncos. After a hot shooting middle of the half, USU’s defense locked in, holding Santa Clara without a field goal over the final 2:35 of the half.

Funk and Max Shulga have combined for seven of the Aggies eight steals.

Second Half

Second half, same as the first. Funk scored the first bucket of the half, hitting a26-foot three in front of the USU bench.

Later in the half with Utah State leading by 14, Rylan Jones found Trevin Dorius for a thunderous fast break alley-oop throw down than caused the Spectrum student section to explode.

In a five minute stretch to start the half, Dorius scored seven points, grabbed two rebounds and a steal.

Santa Clara then made a run, hitting five of seven shots while cutting the Aggie lead from as much as 21 down to 13 with under nine minutes remaining.

Sean Bairstow stopped the run with consecutive buckets.

With Utah State leading handily late in the half, Dan Akin got hot.

Akin would go on to score 13 points on 5-7 shooting.

With 3:30 left point guard Steven Ashworth had to be helped off the floor after appearing to injure his right ankle.

The Aggies led by double-figures for the final 22:35 in a 96-74 win

Up Next

Utah State (3-0) gets a reprieve from the cold as they head out on the road for the first time this season. The Aggies will be in sunny San Diego to face the San Diego Toreros (3-0) on Thursday, November 17. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 8 p.m. (MDT)

This will be the third time these two programs have faced off and the first since 1999. Utah State is 2-0 against the Toreros but will be facing them for the first time on the road.

Every Utah State basketball game can be heard on the KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard on the call.

Coverage of Utah State University Athletics from KSL Sports can be found here. 

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