LOGAN, Utah – With Saint Mary’s set to invade the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Thursday night, Utah State had an opportunity to fine-tune a few areas before hosting the Gaels.
Senior forward Brandon Horvath scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Aggies to a dominating 93-63 win over Carroll College on Monday night at the Spectrum.
Horvath led five Aggies (6-1) in double figures, including senior forward Justin Bean, who recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds, to go along with three assists and one steal. Bean’s points pushed him over the 1,000-point plateau in his USU career as he became the 40th player in school history to accomplish the feat.
Freshman forward Zee Hamoda scored a career-high 15 points – tripling his season total of five points in his first six outings – senior guard Brock Miller had 11 points and sophomore center Szymon Zapala chipped in a career-high 10 as Utah State won its sixth-straight game.
Jovan Sljivancanin led Carroll College, which is ranked No. 5 in the NAIA coaches’ poll, with 18 points. Guilherme Pedra and Garrett Long added 11 points apiece for the Fighting Saints.
With the win, Utah State improved to 68-0 against non-Division I opponents, including a 31-0 mark against NAIA programs.
Fourteen different Aggies played at least two minutes and 11 of them scored at least two points. Junior guard Sean Bairstow made his season debut and finished with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, to go along with two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
Though he didn’t enter the scoring column for Utah State, junior guard Rylan Jones dished out a season-high-tying seven assists. As a team, the Aggies recorded a season-high-tying 26 assists on 36 made baskets. It marked the second-straight game that Utah State had logged 26 assists.
Hamoda made the most of his six minutes of playing time in the first half as he scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. During one stretch, which lasted just under two minutes, he scored 10-straight points for the Aggies, capped by a dunk that made it 34-20 with 7:53 to go.
Utah State scored the first 11 points of the contest, while Carroll College missed its first four shots and committed two turnovers during that stretch. The Fighting Saints, who are 10-0 on the season and used this game as an exhibition, finally dented the scoreboard at the 15:29 mark when Shamrock Campbell hit a floating jumper.
The Aggies shot 60.6 percent from the field (20-of-33), building a 55-31 lead at the break.
Utah State didn’t cool off much in the second half as it finished the game shooting 57.1 percent (36-of-63), including 37.0 percent from beyond the arc (10-of-27), and 73.3 percent from the free throw line (11-of-15).
Carroll College shot 42.6 percent on the night (26-of-61), including 44.4 percent from 3-point land (4-of-9), and 70.0 percent from the charity stripe (7-of-10).
Utah State dominated the glass and the paint as it outrebounded the Fighting Saints 42-24 and outscored them down low 50-32.
Saint Mary’s also had a home tuneup on Monday night as the Gaels posted a 67-50 victory over UC Riverside. The Aggies and Gaels will tip at 7 p.m. on Thursday, with the game live on the CBS Sports Network (Xfinity Ch. 269/753HD, DISH Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221).
For more information on Utah State’s men’s basketball program, follow the Aggies on Facebook at usumensbasketball, on Twitter at @usubasketball and on Instagram at @usubasketball. Fans can also watch USU men’s basketball highlights by visiting youtube.com/utahstateathletics.