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Utah postpones Utah Tech upset bid, improves to 6-0

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LOGAN — Utah Tech was keen to make Thursday night’s first game against Utah State a memorable one.

Underdogs in front of Spectrum’s 6,777 fans, the Trail Blazers hounded the Aggies for nearly 40 minutes, spurring Utah State’s entire game and holding the game within single digits until the final minute. rice field.

Scoring 27 points from Stephen Ashworth, the Aggies won 86-81 to hold off an upset bid to improve to 6-0 on the season. Utah Tech lost and he fell 3-5.

Ashworth shot 7/12 from 3-point range. Taylor Funk added 20 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists to the win. Cameron Gooden notched his game-high 29 points at Utah Tech, his 20 of them in the first half.

Utah State coach Ryan Odom said, “I’m really proud of the players who fought through that game and figured out how to win it.” I think Utah Tech played a great game. had a great game plan. They’re a physical team.”

Missing most of the game after a blow to the face from point guard Rylan Jones early in the first half, Utah State ran into trouble early in the second half as Utah Tech led 41-36. rice field.

The Aggies responded with a 9-0 run and looked to pull away. But in a game that had 24 lead changes and nine ties, Utah Tech hung on, with the Trailblazers biggest deficit at 11 points and Gooden’s where he plays 3-pointer while he’s 6. A little over a minute reduced it to 5.

But Utah State pulled off enough, and their offense boomed in moments of decline. The Aggies found Dan his Aiken on a low block and after an easy dunk he scored twice before the ball went around the horn and was thrown to Ashworth. A key facilitator of the moment of decline was Max Shulga, who finished with 10 points and 10 assists.

“There were a few times when they saw our defense and attacked areas they thought were open, but we adapted to that,” said Utah Tech coach John Judkins. “We couldn’t rotate as much as we needed to. We gave Ashworth a few very wide open threes and he started getting hot and hitting tough stuff.”

Gooden had his way in the first half, hitting an open jumper off the screen. He shot 7/8 in the first half. His three free throws on him end the half that tied the game at 36-36.

The Aggies’ defensive efforts against him in the second half kept him on nine points on 2/8 shooting. This was an important difference.

“I think it’s a result of being a little more physical and having a little more grit in our defensive strategy,” Ashworth said. “And he has a little more pride on defense. As we’ve seen, he’s a very talented player. rice field.

“We did a little better in the second half, fighting around the ball screen and having different options, so he didn’t show his first best form in attack.”

Ranked 243 by Ken Pom, Utah Tech punched above their weight for most of the game, dropping their ranking from 47th to 56th after a narrow victory over the Aggies. As a team, the Trailblazers were 50-for-24 from the field and 3-point he was 52% from range. Utah State went 55-30 from the field and 32% from across the arc.

Utah State will face San Francisco in arguably the biggest game in the non-conference slate on Sunday. Jones’ status in the game is uncertain, but the Aggies need to “play better” to move forward.

“They did too much for us. Probably the more physical team throughout, so that’s something we can learn from going forward,” Odom said. I’m not going to complain about.”

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