LOGAN – Twenty points from senior guard Chris Smith helped give Utah State an 88-70 win over the San Jose State Spartans Saturday night. The win improved USU’s record to 14-13 overall and 6-10 in conference.
“This was our most lopsided win,” head coach Tim Duryea said. “The game was kind of decided earlier than any of the other ones had been. That’s rare in this league. We’ll enjoy that part of it and be thankful for it.”
In addition to Smith, three other Aggies scored in double figures, including Quinn Taylor, whose 16 points and 10 rebounds gave the redshirt freshman a double-double. Darius Perkins added 12 points off of four 3-pointers and Jalen Moore scored 11. The Aggies shot 55.1 percent during the game and made 10-of-17 3-pointers.
“The reason we shot the ball so well is because we passed it and drove it well,” Duryea said. “We created a lot of wide-open shots for each other and then knocked them down at a high percentage.”
Eight points in the first five minutes from Smith helped the Aggies jump out to an early lead, which held until the 6:28 mark when Spartan center Ivo Basor sunk a 3-pointer. It was the Spartans’ only lead of the game, and it lasted less than 10 seconds. Aggie guard Darius Perkins responded almost immediately to the 3-point basket with one of his own.
“I just remembered being open,” Perkins said. “So I was like, ‘I think I should shoot it.’ Good thing it went in.”
Duryea was also glad it went in. He call it “the biggest shot of the half.”
“The game was kind of going up and down at that point,” he said.
Perkins’ corner shot gave USU a 32-31 lead and was the beginning of a 14-5 Aggie first-half finish. USU went into the break leading 43-36.
The Aggies extended the lead by starting the second half on a 15-2 run, which gave USU a 20-point lead. Even with the lead, the Aggies refused to ease up. The gap continued to widen until USU was up 31 with 7:52 left.
“In the second half we picked up our defense and came out really, really hot,” Taylor said. “I feel like everyone was moving the ball and playing really hard. That’s always going to help us. It’s how we need to play to win.”
Duryea said he hasn’t seen such a good stretch from his team during conference play so far this year.
“We haven’t started second halves so well,” he said. “But after we got the kinks out a little bit tonight, I thought the ball was really moving.”
San Jose State switched to a different press defense and was able to force turnovers to slowly trim the lead through the remainder of the game, but it never got closer than 15. Perkins called the last eight minutes “horrific.”
“I just think we got relaxed,” he said. “We’re supposed to play the game until the time runs out. That kind of bit us.”
The Aggies will travel to Colorado Springs for a Tuesday night showdown against Air Force before returning to Logan to finish the regular season next Saturday against Fresno State.