LOGAN – Trailing 73-71 with less than 30 seconds left, Utah State got the ball into its leading scorer’s hands. Jalen Moore backed up close to the basket, spun and put up his shot. It rolled off the rim and into Weber State’s possession. By the time the Aggies got the ball back, the Wildcat lead was pushed to four.
The 77-71 loss Wednesday night was the first to Weber State in Logan since 1993. It dropped USU to 6-5 on the year.
“They made some big shots and I thought we made some big mistakes,” USU head coach Tim Duryea said. “I really thought it came down to that.”
Moore’s missed turnaround floater wasn’t the only chance USU had in the final minutes. With 2:08 left on the clock, neither team had more than a three-point advantage during the previous 10 minutes. That’s when Weber State’s Ryan Richardson was fouled as a 3-point shot left his hands. The shot went in, and so did the and-1 free throw.
“I fouled that kid on the 3, that was stupid,” freshman Sam Merrill said. “We had a couple turnovers in the last five minutes.”
Both teams led throughout the game, but neither team led big. The 50-43 Weber State advantage early in the second half was the most lopsided the game ever got, but even that didn’t last long. Shane Rector and Koby McEwen’s 3-point shots joined with a Quinn Taylor and-1 basket to even the game.
“That was the Quinn Taylor of last year,” Duryea said. “Quinn was very good tonight.”
The game was USU’s last before conference play starts, but both Duryea and Moore said it had the feeling of a conference game. Moore said the tough out-of-conference games like this one will prepare the team for Mountain West opponents.
“They’re a veteran team compared to us, we’ve got some young guys,” Moore said. “That’s what I’m saying, there are some things we’ll learn from this.”
Both offenses seemed unstoppable in the first half. Each team shot more than 50 percent with Moore’s 14 points leading everyone on the court.
“In the first half I thought both teams were really good, on both ends of the floor,” Duryea said. “We weren’t really making defensive mistakes, but nor were they.”
Moore led USU with 18 points, but Weber State’s Jeremy Senglin led the game with 22. McEwen (15) and Merrill (10) were the other Aggies in double figures. Merrill had a career best and game leading six assists.
The Aggies will play again at home Wednesday, Dec. 28 against Boise State.