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February 24, 2021

A perfect 10: Utah State winning streak continues with close victory over SDSU

LOGAN — Utah State was on center stage Saturday.

An early afternoon CBS game broadcast from Logan? That’s not a common occurrence. In fact, it was the first time it’s happened during a regular season.

“I think that speaks wonders to certainly our opponent, San Diego State, is nationally recognized, and what we’ve been able to do here the last two years,” USU head coach Craig Smith said. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”

But to really have the benefits of the extra exposure, the Aggies had to win. Good thing they’re getting pretty good at that.

Former Lone Peak guard Steven Ashworth had 17 points to lead USU to its 10th straight win with a 64-59 victory over San Diego State on Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

This one was a little different than the previous nine wins, though: it was actually close.

With 2:26 left, USU center Neemias Queta fouled out contesting a layup at the rim. Quetta, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, sat as Lamont Butler went to the free-throw line and cut the Aggies’ lead to a single point.

With their best player — and arguably the Mountain West’s best defender — watching from the bench, Utah State closed the game by allowing just 3 points in the final 2:26 of the game. That was an impressive feat.

SDSU’s Jordan Schakel missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining. The shot was on line, but was well short after Schakel pulled up well behind the line.

Brock Miller had 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting for the Aggies, and Alphonso Anderson added 9 points with a strong second-half performance.

The Aztecs were without their top player, Matt Mitchell, after he hyperextended his knee during USU’s win over SDSU on Thursday. While Smith said ahead of the game that the teams knew everything about each other, the Aggies seemed ill-prepared for Mitchell’s replacement: Butler.

The little-used guard had a debut party of sorts on Saturday. In the first half, he had four steals alone and pushed the Aztecs on a 19-3 run to end the opening 20 minutes up 32-22. USU responded with a 15-2 run to start the second half to erase the 10-point halftime deficit.

This story will be updated.

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