Utah State cruises to victory off of dominant performances by Queta, Merrill

(Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal via AP Photo)

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LOGAN — Utah State hosted the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Wednesday night at the Spectrum in Logan. Home court advantage, partnered with dominant performances from Sam Merrill and Neemius Queta, helped lead the Aggies to a 69-54 victory.

The Aggies jumped out to an early 11-5 lead before the Rebels scored 9 unanswered points to take the lead midway through the first half.

Utah State kept it close throughout the next four minutes before regaining the lead on a Merrill layup. The Aggies and Rebels traded buckets and found the game tied at 27 with just over a minute left in the first half.

Former Utah Ute Donnie Tillman scored a jump shot to lead the Rebels into a 29-27 halftime lead.

UNLV started the second half of the game strong, extending their lead by 8 points. But Utah State couldn’t stay down for long as Queta and Merrill led the charge for the Aggies' comeback. Queta and Merrill scored 21 of Utah State’s first 26 points of the second half and the Aggies regained a 5-point lead.

The game got chippy as Abel Porter was tagged with a flagrant foul. On the next trip down the floor, Queta and Merrill found themselves on the ground after an aggressive struggle to rebound the ball.

The referees got things cleared up as Utah State continued the charge towards victory, leading by as many as 16.

Utah State picked up its 19th win in their last 20 home games with a win over the Rebels.

Queta and Merrill led the Aggies with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Queta also led the team with five assists and two blocks. Justin Bean led the Aggies with 11 rebounds.

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