Second Half Comeback Helps Weber State Stun USU In Logan

Dec 19, 2022, 9:22 PM | Updated: 10:25 pm
Weber State guard Steven verplancken is defended by Utah State forward Sean Bairstow at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Monday, December 19.

LOGAN, Utah – Weber State overcame an 18-point deficit, holding the Aggies to 30 percent second half shooting in a 75-72 Wildcat victory.

Utah State (9-1) hosted the Weber State Wildcats (5-7) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Monday, December 19.

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USU blew out Westminster 106-68 last week in an exhibition. The Aggies displayed their depth as Rylan Jones missed his third straight game and Taylor Funk was out thanks to an ankle injury.

After a slow start to the season, Weber State has won two straight. Their last win came against Saint Martin’s nine days ago, 82-58.

RELATED: Depth Showing Up As Injuries Hit Undefeated Utah State

Taylor Funk and Rylan Jones each returned from injury but it wasn’t enough as the Aggies went cold in the second half. Steven Ashworth led four double-figure Aggie scorer’s with 16 in the loss.

Dillon Jones’ led a balanced Wildcat attack with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Junior Ballard (14), Dyson Koehler (12), KJ Cunningham (11) and Steven Verplancken each scored in double figures for Weber State.

First Half

Utah State started fast, jumping out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes.

Taylor Funk returned after his one game absence and Rylan Jones stepped back into the starting lineup after missing three games.

USU led by as many as 18 points in the first ten minutes.

Relying on their defense, Utah State held the Wildcats under 40 percent shooting for much of the first half. Weber State made five of the first six threes to keep the game within reach.

Utah State led 34-23 with 5:30 left in the half.

Steven Ashworth answered a mini Wildcat run but hitting a three point shot of a timeout to give the Aggies a 16-point advantage. Ashworth was one of eight Aggies to score in the first 20 minutes.

RELATED: 67-Point Second Half Gives Utah State Blowout Win Over Westminster

Aggie sixth-man Dan Akin put an exclamation point on the first half when he soared to the hoop to throw down an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Ashworth.

Dyson Koehler stopped a 7-0 Aggie run, hitting a driving layup. That bucket took Weber State into a timeout trailing 41-27 with 2:36 left.

Akin threw down another dunk, benefitting from a beautiful Max Shulga bounce pass off the pick & roll.

Utah State would take a 43-29 halftime lead.

Sean Bairstow led the Aggies with 12 points while Taylor Funk dropped in eight.

Dyson Koehler’s nine points led the Wildcats. Dillon Jones added seven points off of the bench.

Second Half

Weber State took advantage of USU missing three of their first four second half shots to go on an 10-2 run, closing the gap to 45-39

A floater from Steven Verplancken forced Ryan Odom to call a timeout.

The Aggie cold stretch continued as Funk missed a pair of threes with most possessions looking scattered and frenetic.

WSU used an 11-1 run t0 get within three, 46-43.

RELATED: Utah State Erases Double-Digit Deficit Against LMU, Improve To 8-0

Akin made the first Aggie field goal in more than five minutes with a layup to go up five.

Dillon Jones answered on the other end with a triple to bring the Wildcats with two, 48-46 with 11:55 left in the game.

Weber State outscored the Aggies 17-5 in the first eight minutes of the second half.

The Wildcats completed the comeback, taking a 50-48 lead with two Zahir Porter free throws.

As the Aggies struggles continued, Weber State used a 26-6 second half run to take a 55-49 lead with 7:31 remaining. Utah State opened the second half 2-of-15 from the field. They were 0-for-7 from deep during the stretch.

Trailing 57-51, Ashworth hit a leaning three, knocking the lid off of the hoop after a more than six minute long stretch without a field goal. Funk quickly followed with a layup to bring the Aggies within one.

After trading baskets, Ashworth hit his third three of the second half, briefly tying the score at 64.

KJ Cunningham answered at the other end, hitting a corner three & silencing the Spectrum crowd. Weber State led 67-64 with 2:35 left.

Leading 71-67 and in desperate need of a stop after Shulga hit a mid-range fallaway, Junior Ballard answered with a late in the shot clock 15-foot jumper to put the Wildcats in front by six.

On the other end, Rylan Jones completed an old fashioned three-point play when he was fouled by Dillon Jones on a driving layup.

Ballard knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 75-70.

A frenetic final possession saw Funk miss a three. Ashworth came down with the loose ball and was fouled attempting a three. After making the first two freebies, Ashworth had to miss the final shot to give the Aggies a chance at a miraculous tie.

Ashworth did his part, missing the free throw but USU could not corral the rebound as time expired.

USU finished 8-of-26, or 30.8 percent from the field in the second half. The Wildcats made six of their last seven shots and 3-0f-4 from deep to ice the game away.

Up Next

Weber State travels south to face the BYU Cougars on Thursday, December 22. Tipoff for this game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST)

Utah State head across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The Aggies open the tournament against Seattle University on Thursday, December 22. Tipoff for this game is scheduled for 3 p.m. (MST).

Utah State will play again on Friday, December 23 before wrapping up the tournament on Christmas Day. Game times and opponents for these games are to be determined.

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. 

  • Utah State Aggies Scoreboard

  • Utah State Aggies Team Leaders

  • Utah State Aggies Standings

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Second Half Comeback Helps Weber State Stun USU In Logan