Utah State couldn’t summon up an extra dose of Spectrum magic, as the Aggies fell 84-75 to Colorado State in Logan on Wednesday night. Sophomore guard Sam Merrill led USU with18 points.
“I thought (CSU) was tremendous. I thought they had a really great plan,” head coach Tim Duryea said. “They took us out of everything we wanted to do and we didn’t respond well… This one’s on me. I didn’t have them ready to face what they were going to face. I didn’t have them ready to respond.”
The game was largely a back-and-forth affair until late in the first half when Colorado State used a 15-4 run to take a 41-31 halftime lead, from which USU could not recover. Prentiss Nixon had 26 points for the Rams, hobbling around the court due to a knee injury for much of the night. Che Bob added 19 points for CSU.
Sophomore guard Koby McEwen added 11 points for the Aggies, along with seven rebounds and four assists. Freshman forward Daron Henson added 12 points and five rebounds.
“They went on that run at the end of the first half, and I don’t think we responded well to that,” Merrill said. “We struggled to adapt to that and we dug ourselves too big of a hole and couldn’t come back.”
Utah State attempted to stage a comeback on several occasions during the second half, trimming the margin down to 10 points on two separate occasions. Nixon and the Rams, however, responded each time, continually staving off the Aggies until the final buzzer sounded.
The loss snapped a five-game home winning streak for USU, while dropping the Aggies to 3-2 in Mountain West play, fourth in the conference.
“We knew we chance to get another big win and get ourselves to 4-1 and put ourselves in good position,” Merrill said. “It’s a tough loss for us… They were a desperate team and played more desperate than we did.”
Utah State’s road doesn’t get any easier, as the Aggies will face the conference’s top two ranking teams in Nevada and Boise State over their next two games.
“(Nevada and Boise State) are great venues. They’re talented players, and you know you have to strap it up when you go in there, or it’s not going to be good,” Duryea said. “We’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”
Utah State will have the opportunity to deliver on that promise, as the Aggies travel to Reno to take on MW-leading Nevada. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 pm. The game is scheduled to be streamed on ESPN3.