Sports / USU / 
CRAIG KOHLRUSS [Feb-05-2019]

Craig Kolruss, Associated Press, File

Utah State rolls by New Mexico to capture 7th straight win

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Updated - Jan. 6, 2021 at 11:27 p.m. | Posted - Jan. 6, 2021 at 10:08 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — If the second half of Utah State's road victory over New Mexico felt like a letdown, it's only because of what the Aggies did before the break.

Neemias Queta had 18 points, five rebounds and a career high-tying six blocks, and Marco Anthony added 15 points and six rebounds to help Utah State roll to its seventh-straight win with a 77-45 rout of New Mexico in Lubbock, Texas.

With UNM designated as the home team, the game was played at Lubbock Christian University due to coronavirus restrictions in the state of New Mexico.

Alphonso Anderson added 11 points and five rebounds for the Aggies (8-3, 5-0 Mountain West), and Sean Bairstow supplied 9 points, two rebounds and two assists off the bench.

"I thought we played very, very well most of the night," Utah State coach Craig Smith said. "We weathered the storm early … withstood that, and then we made a big run. A lot of great performances.

"This was the best performance by our bench, collectively. Alphonso Anderson. Sean Bairstow. Any time you can hold a team in league play to 28%, usually good things happen."

Keith McGee had 10 points and two rebounds to lead the Lobos (3-5, 0-5 MW).

New Mexico used a 9-0 run to jump out to an 11-6 edge early on a pair of three 3-pointers from reserve McGee, but the Aggies responded with a 12-1 run to retake the lead on Brock Miller's three and never let up.

Utah State shot 50% from the field in the first half, scored 17 points off 13 turnovers, and rolled by the Lobos inside with a 22-2 disparity in points in the paint en route to a 41-18 halftime advantage. The Aggies ended the half on a 23-3 run, holding New Mexico scoreless from the field for the last 3:24.

Queta had 10 points and three blocks at halftime, and Anthony added 8 points and four rebounds for Utah State at the break.

"He really understands basketball. He's really one of the hardest-working players I've coached," Smith said of the Portuguese shot blocker.

"He's got a great feel. He knows how to play, and understands spacing and timing. The hardest job is always the passer. … He's a high-impact player, and we're going to utilize him every way we can."

New Mexico cut the lead as low as 16, but couldn't control Queta, who took a pass from Anderson with 8:55 left and spun around his defender for an easy layup.

There was simply nothing the Lobos could do to hang in the post.

UNM shot just 28% from the field, committed 17 turnovers and trailed 46-12 in the post while being outblocked 8-3. The Lobos never led in the second half, and the Aggies poured in a 36-27 second-half run that included a 18-2 spurt in the final eight minutes.

It was more than enough for the visitors, though, who played emptied the bench and played 14 players by the end of the night. No problem, really; Utah State out-scored the Lobos 31-23 off the bench.

"We compete at a very high-level in practice, and when the games come it's easy to carry over," Anderson said. "Everybody's engaged, and just works super hard.

"When we get that group, we feel like we have something to prove. When it's in the game, that feeling carries over."

The two teams will play against Friday at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on FS1.

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Sean Walker

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