Aggie basketball wins despite sluggish start

LOGAN – A 22-point, 10-rebound performance gave Chris Smith a double-double and helped Utah State to a 69-58 win over Idaho State Tuesday night.

“I’m just doing whatever I can,” Smith said of his performance.

Jalen Moore added 19 points and 9 rebounds in the team’s second win in as many nights in the Global Sports Hoops Showcase. Head coach Tim Duryea called the game a “grind-it-out, ugly win.”

“We obviously were not at our sharpest mentally, or physically,” he said. “I give Idaho State a lot of credit for that, they had a great gameplan.”

The two teams battled back-and-forth through a first half that included 10 lead changes. After shooting more than 50 percent from the field the night before, the Aggies shot just 31 percent in the first half against the Bengals.

“We kind of came out slow in the first half,” Smith said. “Didn’t have a lot of energy.”

Moore agreed.

“Coach said we had (low energy) in walkthrough,” he said. “We just had it the whole day kind-of-thing. It just took us a half to get rid of that.”

USU led 17-15 when the Bengals went on a 9-0 run to take a 7-point lead with 4:11 left in the first period, but the rest of the half belonged to the Aggies. Smith scored 7 of the USU’s next 9 points, then a Moore 3-pointer retook the lead with 38 seconds left in the period. Idaho State immediately responded with a layup, but a Moore buzzer-beater sent USU into the locker room with a 29-28 advantage.

The Aggies never trailed in the second half, but they had a difficult time gaining a comfortable lead. The improvement from the first half was noticeable, however. USU scored 40 points and the field goal shooting improved to 50 percent for the half.

“The second half came around, we had some people step up and were able to take a 10-point lead,” Moore said. “We just had some guys step up and hit big shots when we needed them.”

Some of those big shots came from Darius Perkins. The senior hit four 3-pointers during the game, three of them in the second period.

“We needed points,” Moore said. “Darius was the guy to step up and hit crucial threes when we needed them.”

The Aggies will finish the tournament tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Spectrum against North Dakota State, who has also won both of its games.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!