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Craig Kohlruss, The Fresno Bee via AP

Utah State edges Fresno State, 82-81, in battle for 2nd in MWC

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb 5th, 2019 @ 10:52pm

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Sam Merrill scored 20 points and freshman Neemias Queta had 18 points and 15 rebounds to help Utah State hold off Fresno State 82-81 on Tuesday night in a battle for second place in the Mountain West Conference.

Sam Bittner nailed a 3-pointer to give Fresno State a 67-64 lead with 8:22 left to play. Abel Porter pulled the Aggies (18-5, 8-2 MWC) even with a 3-pointer, added 1 of 2 free throws, Queta followed with a dunk and Brock Miller hit from deep 3 to cap a 9-0 run that gave Utah State the lead for good. Noah Blackwell's 3-pointer cut the Bulldogs' deficit to 80-78 with three seconds left, but Merrill sank two free throws to make it a two-possession game before Deshon Taylor hit a 3 at the buzzer.

Miller, a freshman, hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 for Utah State.

"They're going to start calling us the Cardiac Kids on the road," Utah State coach Craig Smith said. "What a heck of a basketball game. Fresno State is really good. You're not 16-6 by accident. They put so much pressure on you on both sides of the ball. I thought our guys did a really good job with some adjustments that we made. What a great team victory."

Braxton Huggins topped Fresno State (16-6, 7-3) with 26 points and six rebounds.

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