LOGAN – The Utah State basketball team was able to end its three-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 79-60 victory over Air Force. The Aggies took the lead on a late first half run and never looked back.
“We came out with a different mindset tonight,” junior guard Shane Rector said. “We executed and shared the ball, got a lot of good shots even though they didn’t all go down.”
Junior forward Jalen Moore led the Aggies with 20 points, senior guard Chris Smith added 19. The Aggies were able to outrebound the Falcons 41-32.
“We rebounded it fairly well, and kind of gang-rebounded it.” head coach Tim Duryea said. “Jalen Moore, in the first half, was rebounding the ball all over the place defensively.”
USU trailed 24-19 with 7:02 left in the first half when senior guard Darius Perkins started a 13-0 run with a 3-pointer. Moore and Smith combined to score the next 10 during the run. Rector finished the half on a positive note when he inbounded the ball off an Air Force player’s back, grabbed the ball himself and turned around to put the shot in.
“I thought he was crazy for doing that, but he thought there was one second left on the shot clock,” junior guard Julion Pearre said. “So he thought he had to get a quick bucket. He’s that kind of player, he can make plays like that.”
Duryea said he felt the key to the game was the defense from his point guards.
“When you do that good of a job on (Air Force guard) Trevor Lyons and don’t give him a field goal, that says a lot,” Duryea said. “Shane (Rector) and Darius (Perkins) both did a really good job of guarding him, obviously with help from their teammates.”
Duryea also mentioned his team’s improved offensive consistency and aggressiveness. In each of the previous three-games, USU has had stretches where it has failed to score for several minutes at time.
“We didn’t have an offensive lull tonight because our ball kept moving,” Duryea said. “Our ball movement was good. For the most part we moved our bodies but the ball kept changing sides of the floor, something that we’ve really been talking about.”
The win improved the Aggies’ record to 2-3 in conference and 10-6 overall. The next game will be against Colorado State in Fort Collins Saturday at 2 p.m.