Dan Akin Leads Utah State To Gigantic Road Win At Fresno State

Jan 28, 2023, 7:10 PM | Updated: Jan 30, 2023, 1:17 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Dan Akin came off the bench to score 23 points, leading the Aggies to a 70-53 win over Fresno State in his best game of the season.

The Aggies (17-5, 6-3) faced the Fresno State Bulldogs (7-13, 3-6) at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA on Saturday, January 28.

Utah State put an end to a three-game road losing streak after falling 85-75 against San Diego State earlier this week. The Aggies hadn’t won a road game since defeating Air Force back on January 3 in their second Mountain West game of the season.

The Bulldogs dropped their last game on the road, a 63-53 loss to the Boise State Broncos.

USU won the previous meeting between these teams, topping the Bulldogs in a slugfest, 67-54 on New Year’s Eve in the Spectrum.

RELATED: Utah State Prepares For Fresno State As Road Woes Mount

Dan Akin exploded for 23 points and eight rebounds, leading the Aggies in both categories. Steven Ashworth was the only other Utah State player in double-figures with 14 points, six rebounds and six assists while playing a team-high 36 minutes.

Jemarl Baker Jr. and Isaiah Hill led Fresno State with 11 points apiece in the loss.

First Half

USU jumped out to a 4-0 lead with Sean Bairstow hitting the only field goal for either team in the opening three minutes.

Fresno State got on the board when Anthony Holland knocked down a three, but Steven Ashworth immediately answered with a three of his own to take a 7-3 lead.

A 3:41 scoreless stretch by the Bulldogs allowed USU to build a little momentum.

Midway through the half, Aggie reserve Dan Akin hit two buckets in the post to help his team build a 14-9 lead with 11:49 remaining. Akin came in averaging 12 points per game, trailing only Ashworth and Taylor Funk.

RELATED: Without Rylan Jones Healthy, Aggies Ceiling Remains Limited

The extended period of offensive futility that has marked USU’s road frustrations this season allowed Fresno State a chance to get back in the game.

Back-to-back USU turnovers sparked an 8-0 Bulldog that gave them their first lead of the night at 19-16.

Utah State went scoreless for 3:46 before Akin hit one of two free throws to break the scoreless stretch. Akin would go on a 6-0 run himself but it was a put back dunk over a Bulldog defender that cause the Aggie bench to explode.

Taylor Funk followed with his first two points, hitting a pair of free throws as USU matched Fresno State with an 8-0 run of their own to take a 24-19 lead with 4:46 left in the half.

Minutes later, RJ Eytle-Rock took advantage of a transition opportunity, giving the Aggies a 29-22 lead when he knocked down a three.

Utah State outscored the Bulldogs 17-9 over the final 6:55 to take a 34-28 halftime lead.

Dan Akin leads USU with 12 points and five rebounds off the bench. Jemarl Baker Jr.’s nine points led Fresno State.

Second Half

Seemingly a highlight a night type of player, Bairstow gave his team a ten-point lead when he flew in from the left lane for a two-handed fast break slam.

Moments later, Aggie fans held their breath when Akin went to the ground following a flagrant foul from Anthony Holland. Akin took a moment before returning to the USU bench for a timeout. Out of the timeout, Akin nailed two free throws to extend the lead to 43-31 with 15:28 left.

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

With 12:55 left, Funk connected with Akin, who showed no ill-effects from the earlier foul when he threw down a powerful dunk. The graduate-transfer forward out of London, England continued his inspired play with yet another dunk, giving USU a 47-36 lead.

Utah State continued pulling away down the stretch. Bairstow showed his scoring chops with a pair of mid-range jumpers that gave the Aggies a 64-46 lead with 3:36 left.

A sign that it was Utah State’s night came at the 3:24 mark when Dan Akin made his first three of the season after he had been abandoned beyond the arc by the Bulldog defense. The three gave Akin a game and season-high 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He also led the Aggies with eight rebounds.

The Aggies won their 17th game of the season, sweeping the season series against Fresno State with a 70-53 victory.

Up Next

Utah State returns home for a big matchup against the No. 25 New Mexico Lobos (19-3, 6-3) on Wednesday, February 1. New Mexico was the last remaining unbeaten team this season. This will be the only meeting of the regular season between these teams.

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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Dan Akin Leads Utah State To Gigantic Road Win At Fresno State