Steven Ashworth’s Eight Threes Leads USU To Fifth-Straight Win

Nov 22, 2022, 8:58 PM | Updated: 9:10 pm
Utah State guard Steven Ashworth (Courtesy of USU Athletics)
(Courtesy of USU Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah – Steven Ashworth scored a career-high 30 points and Utah State hit 19 threes, the second most in program history, in a 95-85 win over Oral Roberts.

Utah State (5-0) hosted the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (3-3) on Tuesday, November 22 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.

Utah State was coming off of a thrilling, 91-89 overtime win at San Diego in their first road game of the year.

In just 26 minutes off the bench, Ashworth made 9-0f-11 shots, including 8-of-9 from three-point range to lead the Aggies in scoring for the second time this season. This was the third time a member of the bench squad led USU in scoring this season after Akin’s 21 led the team against San Diego.

Utah State shot 61.3 percent from beyond the arc in this game, finishing with 19 threes, just one made three behind the all-time program record.

Five Aggies scored in double-figures. Funk added 18 points, Akin added 12 off the bench. Jones and Shulga each scored 10 points. Shulga finished with the first double-double of his career, snaring 10 boards and seven assists as well.

Issac McBride led the Golden Eagles with 19 points. Connor Vanover added a double-double, finishing with 18 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.

First Half

Utah State, coming in shooting 43.7 percent from deep this season, opened the game with back to back triples from Taylor Funk and Rylan Jones to take an early 6-2 lead.

After an Oral Roberts basket, Max Shulga hit the third three of the game for USU to take a 9-4 lead.

With Utah State in front 11-8, both teams would go cold. The game was scoreless 2:17 stretch as both defenses stepped up.

After Oral Roberts’ Kareem Thompson broke the stalemate with his fifth point of a the night, Funk answered with his second three of the game to give the Aggies a three point lead.

Funk has been a revelation for the Aggies this season, opening the year with a pair of double-doubles in home wins against Utah Valley and Santa Clara.

Later in the half with the score tied at 18, Shulga blocked a shot that led to a fast break. On the other end, Dan Akin turned drew a foul while hitting a contested lay-up.

Akin’s and-one bucket seemed to spur the Aggies on as they turned it into a 19-5 run that ballooned the lead to 14 points at 37-23.

Oral Roberts would cut the lead to eight when Max Abmas hit a jumper, but the Aggies responded to take a 49-40 lead into the half.

Utah State shot 56.7 percent from the field in the opening half and a mind-boggling 68.8 percent from deep as they went 11-of-16 from three in the opening half.

Taylor Funk (12) and Steven Ashworth (11) led USU in scoring. Connor Vanover was the only Golden Eagle in double-figures with 11 first half points.

Second Half

Out of the locker rooms, Issac McBride hit a three to cut USU’s lead to six. McBride added another three a minute later but Utah State’s offense continued to put the pressure on.

Leading 55-47, Funk pump-faked a defender before hitting a three from the left wing to give the Aggies an 11-point lead. The three left Funk a perfect 5-of-5 from deep.

After Funk’s fifth three, the Aggies went cold from the field. Utah State managed just four free throws during a more than five minute stretch without a field goal. The cold streak allowed the Golden Eagles to close the gap to 62-58.

Zee Hamoda snapped the scoreless streak when he hit the 13th three of the game for Utah State to take a 65-58 lead.

Utah State’s poor shooting stretch continued as Oral Roberts chipped away at the lead, eventually getting within two at 67-65.

Jones then hit a free throw and, after missed layups on both sides, Steven Ashworth hit a second-chance three to give USU a 71-65 lead with 7:32 left.

With 3:48 left in the game and USU leading 77-73, Rylan Jones was whistled for an offensive foul on an atrocious call that gave possession back to Oral Roberts and threatened to shift the momentum.

Using an 8-0 run, ORU would tie the game at 77 on two Carlos Jürgens free throws.

Utah State answered on the other end, finishing a sequence of four straight passes with a corner three from right in front of the Aggie bench. An intentional flop whistle gave the Aggies a free throw and four-point lead.

Ashworth would hit two more threes in less than a minute, igniting the Spectrum crowd and propelling Utah State to their fifth win of the season.

In a sign of growth after missing two late free throws against San Diego, Shulga iced the game away with two free throws as Oral Roberts began fouling to extend the game.

Utah State would go on to win 95-85 to extend their winning streak to five games.

Up Next

The Aggies remain in Logan where they will host the Utah Tech Trailblazers in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Thursday, December 1. 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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