Logan • Strange things can happen at the end of physical games that go into overtime.
When the usual scoring sources began to miss for both teams for both Utah State and Fresno State, it was reserve Quinn Taylor who gave the Aggies a final boost in an 81-79 win at the Dee Glen Spectrum.
Leading 76-75 after a driving layup by Koby McEwen in the extra session, Taylor blocked a shot by Fresno State standout Deshon Taylor with 1:20 on the clock, then hit a layup for a 78-75 lead.
That was Taylor’s first points of the contest and, from that point on, Utah State was in control of the Mountain West game.
“We had to make a lot of stops there at the end of the game,” Utah State coach Tim Duryea said. “We had a stretch there when we didn’t do a very good job of protecting the rim when Alex (Dargenton) went out. Quinn answered the bell.
“He got his hands on more than that ball, but obviously that (block) was the key play,” Duryea added.
Utah State (9-7, 2-1), led by McEwen’s 28 points, scored the last 10 points of regulation to force overtime after Fresno State (11-5, 1-2) led 69-59 on a layup by Taylor with 4:12 left in the game.
The Aggies didn’t appear to be in any shape to make a comeback, particularly when Dargenton reinjured his right ankle and had to leave the court with 2:54 remaining in the game. But sophomore guard Sam Merrill, who had 16 points, scored four straight points as part of the late 10-0 run to force OT.
“We’ve had a ton of those games where we make a run and get it to about three in the last minute — and then we either don’t get a stop, don’t get a rebound or turn the ball over,” Merrill said. “I think this was a big win for us.”
Before he exited the game, Dargenton had 13 points. Dwayne Brown Jr. also finished in double figures with 11 while Diogo Brito, who hit a big 3-pointer in overtime, ended with eight.
The duel between McEwen and Deshon Taylor dominated much of the contest.
“He was a walk-on at Fresno, got a scholarship and became their best player. I have the utmost respect for that dude,” McEwen said. “We became good friends after that game last year. Every time I see him, I want to kill him. That’s my respect for him — I’m going to give him my best.”