Las Vegas • If there’s any upside for Utah State’s latest loss, maybe its that the team can only get better from this point on.
Wednesday’s 62-42 defeat to UNLV was notable for the number of season lows for the Aggies, who are hopeful that the game was a statistical oddity more than a marker of how the rest of the year could go.
That included lows in points (42), field goals (16), shooting percentage (30.8 percent), 3-point percentage (11.8 percent), assists (four) and rebounding margin (minus-15). UNLV also registered opponent highs against Utah State in rebounds (44) and blocks (nine).
It wasn’t a big surprise the game spun out of control for the Aggies considering the statistical tilt, freshman forward Jalen Moore acknowledged.
"We just were off," he said. "Credit to them. They played good defense on us. I think we played good defense on them, we just couldn’t get it done on the rebounding or offensive end."
Reserves get run
Going into the UNLV game, it didn’t seem like a strong opportunity for a lot of bench minutes. But as it unspooled and became less competitive, the Aggies sought a spark from their reserves.
For a big stretch in the second half, Utah State fielded a lineup with Jarred Shaw but also Danny Berger, Ben Clifford, Viko Noma’aea and Jojo McGlaston. The latter four average just over nine minutes combined per game, but coach Stew Morrill gave them run together from the 10:33 mark to the 6:10 mark when the lead was hovering in the low double digits. The four each ended up 10 minutes or more of time as starters sat.
As Morrill explained, the Aggies were looking for any answer at that point.
"You gotta try somebody, see if somebody can make a shot," he said. "That’s what that was about. They deserved to have a chance out there."
Deville Smith goes off
The Aggies’ defensive gamble in Vegas cost them.
It was a reasonable one: The team sought to concentrate on Bryce Dejean-Jones and make Deville Smith shoot from deep. Smith, shooting only 17 percent from 3-point range in conference play, ended up hitting four 3-pointers and leading his team with 18 points.
"We were kind of playing the percentages, and he bucked the percentages," Morrill said. "Give him credit."
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