Utah State Suffers Resume Deflating Loss Against San Jose State

Feb 11, 2023, 10:18 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2023, 4:45 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s NCAA Tournament bubble may have burst after another deflating road loss in Mountain West play. San Jose State knocked off the Aggies 69-64.

USU (19-7, 8-5) traveled to the Bay Area to take on the San Jose State Spartans (15-10, 5-7) at Provident Credit Union Event Center on Saturday, February 11.

Both teams entered looking to bounce back from losses. Utah State dropped a heart-breaker at home, falling 63-61 against San Diego State.

After beating Wyoming by 20 at home, the Spartans came up short against Fresno State, losing 70-62 on February 7.

Omari Moore was the best player on the floor in the second half, scoring 20 of his game-high 27 points in the final 20 minutes for the Spartans. Sage Tolbert was the only other Spartan in double figures with 10 points and five rebounds.

Five Aggies scored better than 10 points. Steven Ashworth led the way with 14 points. Max Shulga added 13 and Dan Akin scored 12 points off the bench.

RELATED: Poor Start Dooms Utah State In Second Home Loss Of Season

First Half

San Jose State outscored USU 6-0 in the opening 3:43 as the Aggie committed three turnovers and missed two shots before scoring. Max Shulga got his team on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws.

Following a timeout, the Spartans extended their lead to 13-2 with Utah State struggling to create any easy shots.

Dan Akin scored the Aggies first points from the field with back-to-back buckets in the paint but SJSU took a 15-6 lead to the under-12 media timeout.

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

Out of the timeout, USU flipped the script. The Aggie defense clamped down, holding San Jose State scoreless for better than two minutes and without a field goal for nearly four minutes.

During that stretch, Taylor Funk, Sean Bairstow, Akin and Shulga all made layups with the Spartan defense relenting. Trevin Dorius capped the 9-0 run with an alley-oop slam from Bairstow that gave the Aggies a 19-17 lead.

Later in the period Steven Ashworth, the third-leading three-point shooter in the country, gave the Aggies a 29-26 lead when he hit his first three of the night.

Second Half

After finishing the first half with four points and four rebounds, Dorius came out of the locker room hot. Dorius hit three field goals and a free throw in the half before picking up his fourth foul at the 16:38 mark. Before exiting, Dorius led the Aggies with 11 points.

The outburst from Dorius helped the Aggies keep pace with San Jose State early in the second half. Without him, USU started the half 0-of-6 from the field. The Spartans made 2-of-8 shots to open the second half.

Utah State held a 46-41 lead with 11:54 remaining. The five-point lead was their largest of the night to that point.

RELATED: Without Rylan Jones Healthy, Aggies Ceiling Remains Limited

Bairstow knocked down back-to-back threes to keep the Aggies in front 49-45.

Down the stretch, Utah State fell into familiar offensive struggles. The Spartans defense started to get physical and USU began settling for outside shots instead of attacking the basket.

SJSU battled until taking a 57-55 lead with 5:38 left.

The teams traded possessions until Shulga came up big with his third three of the night to take a 58-57 lead. The Aggies held a 60-59 advantage with 2:44 to play.

Omari Moore scored four second-chance points in the final 90 seconds as the Aggie defense relented briefly. The buckets gave SJSU a three-point lead with 48 seconds left.

After two free throws from Ashworth, Moore hit the biggest shot of the game. Moore drove by his man before pulling up for a simple 10-footer to give the Spartans a 67-64 lead with 27 seconds left.

After a timeout, Ashworth jacked up an immediate three that went long. Before landing out of bounds, Akin chased down the offensive board, somehow finding his point guard. Ashworth swung to a wide-open Taylor Funk in the corner.

Funk’s three bounced long and, after some tense moments, San Jose State ran out the clock for a 69-64 win.

Up Next

Utah State gets a reprieve from facing the top half of teams in the Mountain West. The eighth-place Air Force Falcons (13-13, 4-9) will be in Logan to face the Aggies on Tuesday, February 14. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT) This is a rematch of a 77-65 Utah State road win on January 3.

USU hosts the Nevada Wolfpack (20-6, 10-3) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, February 18. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT).

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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Utah State Suffers Resume Deflating Loss Against San Jose State