LOGAN – The Aggies fell to 9-7 overall and 2-2 in conference after losing to New Mexico 66-60 in a game that came down to the final minutes.
With two minutes left, the Aggies had the ball, a two-point lead and momentum. The hometown crowd was loud. USU had just fought back from being nine points down during the last seven minutes.
That was when things went wrong for Aggies.
New Mexico’s Tim Jacobs stole the ball from sophomore Jalen Moore. The Lobos streaked down the court and attempted a dunk, but Moore was able to come up with a block. Forward David Collette attempted a second block immediately after, but was called for his fifth foul. Collette argued the call and picked up a costly technical.
“David’s block might have have been clean,” Moore said. “Might have been a foul, you never know. Ref called it a foul.”
The Lobos were given four free throws. They made them all and took a two-point lead. On the Aggies’ very next possession they turned the ball over again, which turned into a sixth 3-point basket by New Mexico’s Hugh Greenwood. The ball went in as the shot clock expired giving the Lobos a 65-60 lead with 36 seconds left in the game, all but sealing them the victory.
“We turn it over trying to feed the ball to the post and then all the craziness started,” head coach Stew Morrill said.
After the game, Morrill called Collette a “great kid” who just lost his composure.
“I mean, he’s a freshman, he’ll learn,” he said. “He’ll get better at it. That was a really tough play.”
Morrill said the loss can’t be blamed solely on the technical foul. He mentioned poor free thrown shooting, rebounding and allowing Greenwood to take 3-point shots as major factors that contributed to the loss. The Aggies made 11 of 20 attempts from the line and were out rebounded 36 to 22.
“They were killing us on the boards and we were still right there,” Moore said. “We need to focus more on free throws. If we knock down more free throws, we’re up. Get more rebounds, we’re up.”
Moore led the Aggies with 22 points, six rebounds and two steals. Freshman Julion Pearre, who scored a career-high 18 points, called the loss “a tough one to swallow.”
“Win or lose you got to put it behind you,” he said. “We’re just going to have to move on, practice hard and get ready for the next team.”
The next opponent the Aggies face will be Air Force on January 17 in the Spectrum. The Falcons are 1-3 in conference and 8-7 overall after losing to Colorado State 92-87 Saturday night.