Nevada Defense Spurs Second Half Run, USU Loses Again On Road

Jan 13, 2023, 11:21 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 can’t answer road woes as Nevada surges in the second half, sending USU to their second-straight Mountain West road loss, 85-70.

The Nevada Wolfpack (15-4, 5-1) hosted Utah State (14-4, 3-2) at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, NV on Friday, January 13.

USU comes off one of their most impressive victories of the season against an undermanned Wyoming team. Utah State dominated the Cowboys, winning 83-63.

The Wolfpack look to rebound after coming up short at San Diego State earlier in the week, 74-65.


Will Baker toyed with the Aggies interior defense all game long, finishing with 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Kenan Blackshear led all scorers with 28 points. Blackshear added team high’s with five assists and five steals.

Five Aggies finished in double-figures with Steven Ashworth’s 15 pacing the team. Taylor Funk added 13 while three players scored 11 in the loss.

RELATED: Utah State Looks For Biggest Road Win Of Season Against Nevada

First Half

Utah State started fast, unlike their last Mountain West road game when Boise State punched them in the mouth out of the gate.

The Aggies flipped the script, making four of their first six three point attempts as they built a 22-16 advantage.

Steven Ashworth, the conference’s leading three point shooter, hit a pair of triples in the opening ten minutes. Taylor Funk and Max Shulga also connected from deep for the Aggies.

Nevada battled, keeping pace with the Aggies for much of the night. Jarod Lucas would give the Wolfpack their first lead of the night with a deep three to take a 26-25 lead with 6:37 left in the half.

Funk answered on the other end with a three of his own but Lucas came right back to hit his second straight from beyond the arc.

RELATED: Akin, Bairstow Leads Utah State To Blowout Win Over Cowboys

Less than a minute later, Funk hit his third three of the night, this one coming from nearly 30 feet. The shot put Funk in double figures with 11. Utah State used a 7-0 scoring run to take a 35-31 lead.

Utah State took a 42-37 lead into halftime. The Aggies shot 48.3 percent from the field and made 6-of-11 three point shots.

Second Half

Utah State maintained their lead for the early portion of the second half but a 10-0 Nevada run allowed the Wolfpack to claw back, taking a 54-41 lead with 14:16 left in the half.

RELATED: Utah State To Honor Former Aggie Legend Jaycee Carroll

A minute later, USU ended their scoring drought when Ashworth hit Funk on an out of bounds play for an easy layup with one second on the shot clock.

Back-to-back threes from Ashworth and Sean Bairstow gave Utah State a 60-58 lead with 11:13 left.

Minutes later and trailing 64-62, Nevada needed two offensive rebounds and almost a full minute of game action before Kenan Blackshear could hit a layup, outlasting the Aggie defense to tie the game at 64.

On the other end, Trevin Dorius fouled out after hitting Blackshear as the pair went for a defensive rebound.

Nevada harnessed the momentum to go on another run, this time 12-0.

The Wolfpack extended the run to 19-0 as Utah State couldn’t buy a basket and began pressing against an attacking Nevada defense.

As has been the problem in previous losses, USU went cold for an extended stretch and could not regain the momentum. Nevada held the Aggies scoreless for a 6:51 stretch that ended with two Shulga free throws.

USU trailed 81-66 with less than two minutes left after the run.

The Aggies went on to lose 85-70.

Up Next

USU welcomes in UNLV (12-4, 1-3) on Tuesday, January 17. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST) On Saturday, January 21, the Aggies will see the San Jose State Spartans (12-6, 3-2) come to town for a 4 p.m. (MST) matinee.

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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Nevada Defense Spurs Second Half Run, USU Loses Again On Road