SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Utah State’s men’s basketball team opened the 2020-21 season with an 85-69 loss to VCU in the quarterfinals of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic on Wednesday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
Turnovers proved costly for the Aggies (0-1) as they committed 11 of their 18 in the second half alone, helping the Rams (1-0) rally from as many as 10 down, including a 63-56 deficit with 10:56 remaining in the game.
VCU scored 28 points off of Utah State’s turnovers.
A 3-pointer by junior guard Brock Miller gave Utah State its seven-point lead with less than 11 minutes to go. However, the Rams ratcheted up their defense as the Aggies missed the next eight shots they took from the field and turned it over four times during that stretch.
As a result, VCU used an 18-0 run to move in front for good. Junior center Neemias Queta put an end to Utah State’s dry spell that lasted more than six minutes with a pair of free throws at the 4:37 mark of the second half.
Queta led the Aggies with a double-double, recording 17 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Justin Bean added 13 points, while freshman guard Rollie Worster chipped in 10 points in his collegiate debut. Worster is the first Aggie to start his first-career game as a true freshman since Queta did so at Montana State on Nov. 6, 2018.
VCU’s Nah’Shon Hyland led all scorers in the game with 23 points, while Vince Williams had 15 and Keshawn Curry 10.
The Rams shot 52.8 percent from the field (28-of-53), including 41.7 percent from 3-point range (10-of-24), and 86.4 percent from the free throw line (19-of-22).
Conversely, the Aggies shot 42.9 percent from the field (24-of-56), including 23.5 percent from beyond the arc (4-of-17), and 65.4 percent from the charity stripe (17-of-26).
Utah State took its largest lead of the game at 55-45 with 14:22 to go following a layup by Bean.
The Aggies return to action with a Thanksgiving Day game against South Dakota State (0-1) at 5:30 p.m. (MT). The Jackrabbits opened the Crossover Classic with a 79-71 loss to No. 15 West Virginia.