UTAH STATE AGGIES

Aggies Survive Overtime Thriller Against San Diego, Remain Undefeated

Nov 17, 2022, 10:22 PM | Updated: 10:27 pm
Ryan Odom USU head coach...
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 8: Head coach Ryan Odom of the Utah State Aggies directs his team during the second half against the BYU Cougars December 8, 2021 at the J. Willard Marriott Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State overcame 43 points from Eric Williams Jr., hanging on for an incredible overtime win against San Diego.

Utah State (3-0) played their first road game of the season, taking on the San Diego Toreros (3-0) at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Thursday, November 17.

The Aggies were coming off of a dominating 96-74 win against Santa Clara earlier in the week.

Williams Jr.’s 43 points were the story of the night for San Diego as he went 13-of-20 from the field and hit 7-of-8 threes to go along with 13 rebounds.

Three Aggies scored in double-figures with Dan Akin’s 21 points and 25 rebounds leading both categories. Taylor Funk found a way to score 20 after a poor shooting first half.

Max Shulga scored 14 first half points on his way to 20 on the game. He finished 5-of-5 from beyond the arc.

First Half

Utah State won the tip, only to have Rylan Jones turn it over with an errant pass as he tried to find Taylor Funk. The turnover led to a Jones foul and two free throws for San Diego.

USU turned it over on their next possession, resulting in a three from former Weber State Wildcat Sigu Sisoho Jawara. The Aggies would end up falling behind 9-0 before Taylor Funk put USU on the scoreboard with a mid-range jumper.

Utah State’s nightmare start continued as they committed four turnovers in the first four minutes of play while being outscored 9-2. USU also committed three fouls during the stretch.

Trailing 9-5 after a Max Shulga three, sophomore forward Zee Hamoda drove baseline and finished with an athletic reverse layup, cutting the Torero lead to two.

USU continued to fight back after falling behind early.

RJ Eytle-Rock knocked down a three, capping a 13-4 Aggie run, tying the game at 13 midway through the opening half. It was the first three for USU. They came in averaging more than 10 triple’s per game on 41.9 percent shooting.

After starting the game 1-of-5 from deep, San Diego hit back to back shots from deep, opening up their lead to 23-17.

Shulga slowed the Torero run when he was fouled on a three-point shot with 4:10 remaining. Shulga stepped to the line and knocked down all three free throws.

After a San Diego turnover, Dan Akin slammed down two points, cutting the lead to one at 23-22.

The teams traded baskets for a couple of possessions with Shulga’s second three of the game giving Utah State a brief, 27-26 lead.

After another Shulga three, San Diego had a chance to take the lead into halftime but Jones played great defense, drawing a charge to give USU the ball with 2.4 seconds left in the half. Trailing 31-30, the Aggies were unable to get a shot off before the halftime horn.

Shulga leads Utah State with 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting. Nobody else scored in double-figures for Utah State.

Eric Williams’ 15 points led all scorers in the half.

Second Half

Utah State continued to stay close early in the second half but couldn’t string together enough defensive stops with offensive execution to take the lead.

Sand Diego hit three of their first four field goal attempts in the second half, opening up a 39-35 lead.

Shulga hit his fourth three of the game, bringing USU within one. Sean Bairstow had an opportunity to give the Aggies the lead with two free throws, but missed both.

San Diego answered with an Eric Williams Jr. three to jump ahead, 42-38.

Both teams then went cold for a long stretch.

The Aggies and Toreros combined to go 0-for-10 across a nearly three minute stretch before Taylor Funk found Zee Hamoda for a three that gave USU a 45-44 lead.

San Diego immediately answered when Jaiden Delaire knocked down a jumper, retaking the lead for San Diego.

On USU’s next trip down the floor, Funk finally got out of his shooting funk when he knocked down a three to give the Aggies a 48-46 lead.

Funk came into the game averaging 17.7 points per game but started 2-for-9 overall and 1-for-6 from deep.

Williams and Funk traded three’s as both teams started to heat up.

With the score tied at 51, Hamoda gave USU a two point lead with a driving layup. The bucket gave him seven points after hitting just two free throws against Santa Clara.

San Diego went into the under eight-minute timeout nursing a 56-55 lead.

Back and forth scoring had the game knotted up at 62 when Akin muscled up.

Two straight Dan Akin thunderous throw downs gave Utah State their largest lead of the game and forced San Diego to call a timeout. USU led 66-62.

Williams Jr. answered for the Toreros with his 33 point on a driving layup.

On the other end, Funk hit a three, becoming the third Aggie to reach double-figure scoring.

San Diego came back with a three of their own, cutting the Aggie lead to 69-67 with 3:38 left.

After the break, Steven Ashworth hit a pair of free throws to increase the led to four, 71-67.

Two possessions later, trailing 71-69, Marcellus Earlington was whistled for an offensive foul, giving the ball back to Utah State.

Shulga would miss a pair of big free throws and Jawara answered. Jawara drove to the basket, hitting a layup and giving him a personal 7-0 run and tying the game at 71.

Shulga tried to put the Aggies in front but missed a jumper. Funk then took advantage of a huge offensive rebound by knocking down his fourth three of the half, putting USU in front 74-71.

Akin fouled Williams Jr. on a three point shot but Williams missed the first of three shots.

Bairstow came down and hit a layup assisted by Ashworth. It was the eighth assist of the game for Ashworth.

Williams Jr. continued his torrid night, hitting a step-back jumper for his 37th point of the night.

Trailing 76-75, San Diego fouled Funk. Funk hit both free throws to give USU a three point advantage.

A wild final possession for San Diego ended up in Williams Jr. hitting a three to tie the game. The three gave Williams Jr. 40 points on the night.

With 3.2 seconds on the clock the Aggies had to go the length of the court. Shulga took the inbounds pass but wasn’t able to get a shot off.

Overtime

It took more than a minute for either team to score in the extra period. Akin put USU in front with a baby hook.

San Diego came back with consecutive triples to take an 84-80 lead.

On the next possession, Bairstow found Shulga in the corner for another three. Shulga’s fifth three of the night brought Utah State within one, 84-83.

Bairstow then hit a layup to give USU an 85-84 lead.

Perhaps the biggest play of the night came seconds later when Williams Jr. fouled out of the game with a San Diego school record 43 points.

With Williams Jr. out, Earlington hit a three for San Diego. Funk answered back with a USU triple that gave the Aggies an 89-86 lead.

Earlington came right down, hitting a shot and was fouled. He hit the free throw to tie the game for the 11th time.

Ashworth came down for the Aggies, and with four seconds left on the clock, nocked down the game winning jumper.

Up Next

The Aggies return to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum where they will welcome in Oral Roberts Eagles on Tuesday, November 22. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MDT).

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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