Sports / USU / 
Utah State guard Sean Bairstow (2) drives to the basket as San Diego State guard Trey Pulliam defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)

Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal via AP

On Cloud 9: Utah State keeps on rolling with win over San Diego State

By Ryan Miller, KSL.com | Posted - Jan. 14, 2021 at 10:02 p.m.



LOGAN — So it wasn't just the schedule.

Brock Miller scored 16 points on four 3-pointers, and Neemias Queta had 14 points and 16 rebounds as Utah State won its ninth straight game with a 57-45 victory over San Diego State Thursday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

The Aggies' winning steak has come mostly by dominating the bottom feeders of the conference — SDSU is far from that. Yet, in the end it was the same result: Utah State celebrating a convincing win. Each of USU's victories during its nine-game winning streak has come by double digits.

"San Diego State obviously is a very good team and they've had some marquee wins this year. And so they're a veteran team, they're excellent defensively," USU head coach Craig Smith said.

That's all true. So what does that say about the Aggies?

SDSU came into Logan with the nation's longest road winning streak at 13. That's now over.

The Aztecs had scored over 50 points in each game in the last two calendar years. That streak is over, too. Utah State held SDSU (9-3, 5-2) to just 31.5% shooting from the field.

"It was a bit of a rock fight out there. It was hard for anyone to get scores," Smith said. "I thought we defended at a very high level, as did they, but to be able to hold a team like that to 45 points and that kind of shooting percentage, I thought our guys did an excellent job of really communicating and in being on point."

While the Aggies (10-3, 7-0) as a whole struggled to score against the tough Aztec defense, Miller was able to find his shot, going 4-of-10 from the 3-point line on his way to his game-high total. And that was something his head coach sensed was coming.

Smith said Miller just had a look about him this week leading up to the game.

"I don't know how to explain it but I know when I see it with him," Smith said. "Just the way he carries himself, the way his eyes look. He had vigor."

The Aggies' bench, led by Alphonso Anderson's 6 points, outscored the Aztecs, 16-6. Anderson hit two 3-pointers late in the first half to help the Aggies (10-3, 7-0) push out their lead into double digits where it stayed for much of the night.

"I mean, it is just so hard to score on them and they know every play that we have and we know every play that they have," Smith said. "So anytime you can beat San Diego State, it's a very good win."

And the best win of the season for the Aggies — helping prove they are a conference title contender. Utah State's other six conference wins, while all blowouts, had come against teams that have a combined one win in Mountain West play.

"I know some of our scores have been a little bit lopsided but I was able to see (some things playing) against a really good team — the grittiness that we have, our ability to play connected with some of our inexperienced guys," Smith said. "You're starting to get a feel for what to expect on a night-to-night basis."

If the past nine games are any induction, everyone is just expecting the Aggies to win.

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