No. 25 Utah St tops San Jose St 71-59 in conference opener

Utah State forward Justin Bean (34) drives to the basket against San Jose State guard Seneca Knight (13) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Justin Bean had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 25 Utah State bounced back from its first loss of the season by beating San Jose State 71-59 on Wednesday night in the Mountain West Conference opener.

San Jose State guard Omari Moore (10) blocks a shot by Utah State guard Brock Miller (22) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The Aggies (8-1, 1-0) fell 81-73 last week at Saint Mary’s in a matchup between two of the top mid-major teams in the country. They fared much better in their return to the Bay Area by running away from the Spartans (3-6, 0-1) in the second half.

Utah State used a 9-0 spurt fueled by two baskets by Alphonso Anderson and five turnovers from San Jose State to build an 11-point lead early in the second half and mostly coasted from there.

Sam Merrill scored 14 points, Anderson added 12 and Diogo Brito had 10 for the Aggies.

Seneca Knight scored 17 points to lead the Spartans, who have lost four straight games. San Jose State hasn’t beaten a ranked team since knocking off No. 19 Alabama 60-59 in overtime in the Cable Car Classic on Dec. 27, 1996.

Utah State guard Sean Bairstow (2) reacts as he is fouled by San Jose State guard Brae Ivey (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The Spartans stayed close early with the Aggies, getting a spark when Omari Moore blocked two shots by Brock Miller on one trip. That led to a tying 3-pointer from Trey Smith and a basket from Richard Washington that put San Jose State up 21-19.

The Aggies answered and led 36-33 at the break.

BIG PICTURE

Utah State: The Aggies controlled the game inside and outscored the Spartans 46-22 in the paint. But they shot only 4 of 17 on 3-pointers and failed to completely pull away from an overmatched opponent.

San Jose State coach Jean Prioleau yells out to his players during the first half against Utah State in an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

San Jose State: After going 8-53 with only two conference wins in coach Jean Prioleau’s first two seasons, the Spartans look to be a little more competitive in year three. But they still have a long way to go to match up with any of the top teams in the conference.

UP NEXT

Utah State: Hosts Fresno State on Saturday.

San Jose State: Visits San Diego State on Sunday.

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