Second Half Comeback Falls Short, Utah State’s Road Struggles Continue

Jan 25, 2023, 11:06 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2023, 4:50 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State made a game of it late, but the Aztecs controlled much of the action in an 85-75 win that leaves USU searching for road answers.

Utah State (16-5, 5-3) faced the San Diego State Aztecs (16-4, 7-1) in the first of consecutive Mountain West road games on Wednesday, January 25.

The Aggies look for their first road win since a 77-65 win against Air Force that came more than three weeks ago. In the meantime, USU has dropped games at Boise State and Nevada. Utah State survived an upset bid by San Jose State over the weekend, winning 75-74 on a Max Shulga free throw.

Leaders of the Mountain West, the Aztecs also come in winners of two straight, including a ten-point road win against Air Force in their most recent game.

RELATED: Free Throw Punctuates Second Half Comeback, Utah State Downs Spartans

Taylor Funk made four threes on his way to leading USU with 22 points. Sean Bairstow added 18 and Dan Akin scored 15 off the bench in the loss.

Adam Seiko led all scorer’s with 25 points. Seiko made his first seven threes before missing. Keshad Johnson (11) and Nathan Mensah (10) finished in double-figures for the Aztecs.

The Aztecs and Aggies face each other in Logan on Wednesday, February 8.

First Half

Utah State appeared overmatched out of the blocks on Wednesday night as the Aztecs played with more energy and physicality to open the game.

SDSU opened an early 9-5 lead with the Aggies missing six of their first eight shots. A top of the key three from Taylor Funk was the lone USU bright spot in the first five minutes of action.

On the other end, it was Adam Seiko doing his damage from deep. Seiko erupted for three threes in a span of less than three minutes to give the Aztecs an 18-11 lead with 11:40 left in the half. Seiko came in averaging 6.3 points per game.

USU’s offense wasn’t helping themselves as SDSU surged. The Aggies made one of their first 11 three-point attempts while shooting under 25 percent (4-0f-18) in the opening 12 minutes.

San Diego State took advantage, going on an 18-0 run over a 6:13 stretch. Max Shulga hit a three to end the scoring drought, cutting the deficit to 30-14.

RELATED: Without Rylan Jones Healthy, Aggies Ceiling Remains Limited

After falling behind by as much as 20 points, Funk started to bring the Aggies back.

After buckets from Dan Akin and Szymon Zapala, Funk hit a second-chance three before going coast to coast for a layup. The Aggies 9-0 run put the Aztecs on their heels for the first time, forcing a timeout with USU trailing 37-26.

SDSU closed the half by outscoring the Aggies 5-1 over the final 1:56.

Seiko led all scorers with 18 points, finishing a perfect 6-of-6 from deep and tripling his season scoring average. Funk led the Aggies with 13 first half points.

Second Half

Sean Bairstow scored the Aggies first eight points of the second half  but careless turnovers prevented USU from making any headway against the Aztecs.

Seemingly every time USU looked like they could build a little momentum San Diego State answered with a three or defensive stop that led to points.

RELATED: Road Woes, Late Game Execution Remain Question Marks For Utah State

Later in the half, Steven Ashworth’s first three of the night got USU within single-digits at 64-55. It was the first time the deficit had been under ten since 11:09 left in the first half.

Dan Akin soared to the basket for a layup, bringing his team within eight as the Aggies threatened down the stretch.

Funk traded baskets with the Aztecs, working free for back-to-back layups that got USU within six at 74-68.

That was as close as Utah State would get. SDSU bumped their lead back to 11 with a quick 5-0 run, putting the clock at their advantage.

Despite a shot-clock violation in the final 90 seconds, San Diego State remains the conference leader with an 85-75 win.

Up Next

The Aggies continue a road swing through California on Saturday, January 28 when the take on the Fresno State Bulldogs (7-12, 3-5). Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 5 p.m. (MST). Utah State won the first matchup between schools this season, winning in convincing fashion on New Year’s Eve, 67-54.

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

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Second Half Comeback Falls Short, Utah State’s Road Struggles Continue