The Utah State men’s basketball team concluded out-of-conference play for the season with a 91-74 victory over Youngstown State on Wednesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The victory brought USU to 7-6 on the year heading into Mountain West play next week.
“We are what we are, we’re 7-6,” head coach Tim Duryea said. “We have to move forward. We have to recharge a little bit. I feel good (about being 7-6), but I wish I felt a little bit better.”
Taylor recorded a double-double on the night, notching 13 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Junior DeAngelo Isby set a new career-high with 26 points to lead all scorers. The junior college transfer shot 9-13 from the field, and 3-6 from 3-point range for the game. Sophomore Sam Merrill added 18 points to go along with six assists.
As a team, the Aggies frequented the foul line, shooting 35 free throws for the game. The team struggled to convert in the first half, however, making only 8 of 17 attempts. The second half brought a different story as USU shot 15-18 from the line as the Aggies pulled away from the Penguins.
“In the first half, we shot 47 percent on free throws, and (Coach Duryea) made an emphasis on that,” Isby said. “We work on free throws constantly, so we came back and tried to seal the game through free throws.”
USU started the game slow, allowing Youngstown State to open up a 15-7 lead at the start of the game before responding with an 8-0 run to even the score.
The Aggies then began to build a slight cushion, staving off several attempts by YSU to tighten the game, and entered halftime leading 41-34. In the second half, the Penguins used a 14-7 run to come to within one of the Aggies at 61-60, but USU responded by out-scoring the visitors 30-14 to close out the contest.
“We knew the game was going to be kind of an ugly game but I feel like we played well,” junior Quinn Taylor said. “We finished out the game which is always good to close out. It was kind of close there but then we were able to pull away.”
Junior Dwayne Brown Jr. added 16 points with five rebounds. Sophomore Diogo Brito chipped in with nine points along with two rebounds and two assists.
Youngstown State kept a full court press for much of the game, stifling much of the Aggies’ offense and forcing the teams into a muddled style of play. USU was able to avert much of the Penguins’ pressure, however, turning the ball over only 11 times during the game.
Cameron Morse led Youngstown State with 23 points, but on 8-23 shooting. Garrett Covington and Braun Hartfield pitched in 10 and 12 points for the Penguins, respectively.
The game concluded USU’s out-of-conference slate of games, with attention now being turned entirely to the MW with San Jose State up first on the schedule.
“Its been a struggle this season for us as far as injuries, but we wanted to go into conference play with a winning record,” Isby said. “I feel like we’re ready for conference play and we’re just getting better. We want to get to February and be the best that we can be.”
Utah State will face the Spartans at home in the Spectrum next Wednesday at 7 pm.