PROVO – Utah State didn’t look like the team that started the basketball season 7-1 Wednesday night. After picking up each of its seven wins by double digits, the Aggies never led in the 95-80 loss to BYU.
“We showed some of our youth and inexperience tonight,” Aggie head coach Craig Smith said.
Utah State fell behind quickly and trailed by as many as 22 in the first half. A few second-half runs cut the BYU lead to 12 multiple times, but never closer.
Cougar forward Yoeli Childs scored a game-high 31 points. BYU made 11 3-pointers to USU’s three and shot 55.9 percent from the field. Smith said he was hoping Wednesday’s game wouldn’t be the game where BYU broke out of its shooting slump, but that is what happened.
“I can’t speak for them, but I thought it was their best game of the year,” he said. “They played with a lot of confidence. They’ve been struggling shooting the three consistently, shooting 28 percent.”
Aggie guard Sam Merrill scored a team-high 17 points in the loss. Freshman Neemias Queta added another 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Senior forward Dwayne Brown (15) and sophomore guard John Knight III (11) also scored double figures.
As a team USU had just six assists total, a season low.
“We weren’t moving the ball as much as we’re used to,” Queta said. “I think we’ll go to the film room when we get to Logan and watch what we did wrong.”
The game marked the first game in more than a year for Nick Emery, who didn’t play a season ago and finished a nine-game suspension to start this season. He hit a 3-pointer soon after entering the game partway through the first half and finished with 11 points.
Utah State will continue its road stretch with a game against Weber State in Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon.