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September 22, 2021

Make it 8: Utah State keeps rolling with 2nd straight rout of New Mexico

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State kept rolling Friday night.

Marco Anthony had 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Neemias Queta added 11 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a record-setting performance to lead Utah State to a 82-46 rout of New Mexico in Lubbock, Texas, for the Aggies’ eighth consecutive victory.

Justin Bean added 13 points and 13 rebounds for Utah State (9-3, 6-0 Mountain West), and Steven Ashworth had 10 points and five assists.

Makuach Maluach scored 13 points to lead New Mexico (3-6, 0-6 MW), which lost its sixth straight game.

The Aggies outrebounded the Lobos 53-22 — or in other words, put up seven more rebounds than New Mexico had points.

“Any time you can do that, it sends a message,” Bean said. “I think it can be easy for teams to get a little lax after the last game, but we were still able to play connected. There were a couple of stretches where we turned it over too much, but we finished it off.”

Hosted 321 miles from the Lobos’ campus, the game was played at Lubbock Christian University and hosted by UNM as a result of coronavirus restrictions in the state of New Mexico. To put that in perspective, it would be like the University of Utah playing “home” games in St. George.

But much like they did two nights earlier, it was the Aggies that made themselves right at home.

Utah State opened the game a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, including seven quick points from Virginia transfer Marco Anthony to a blistering 16-4 start less than seven minutes into the contest.

Brock Miller gave the Aggies a 30-10 lead with a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key, just moments before Queta’s third block of the game gave the Portuguese center the school record in career blocked shots.

“We’re really proud of how we played. I thought we defended hard, and I love how we locked down the ball for most of the game,” Utah State coach Craig Smith said. “We thought a key for the game would be our start, and we got off to a fantastic start. Bean hits the three in the top corner, and Justin’s worked very hard at his shot and it’s shown here.

“There were a lot of great efforts tonight — a lot of guys played well.”

Queta had as many points (3) as he did blocks to go along with game-high seven rebounds to help the Aggies to a 45-18 halftime advantage.

The Lobos never threatened again, shooting just 32% from the field with 14 turnovers in the loss.

Utah State returns home to host San Diego State in a two-game series beginning Thursday, Jan. 14. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

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