Logan • From a first-time starter to an unlikely sharpshooter, the Utah State Aggies went about their business a little differently than they have all season.
Freshman Brock Miller, who averaged just shy of eight points per game entering Saturday’s game against Colorado State, had an efficient night from the 3-point line. Abel Porter started his first game of the season, and was representative of the only time in 2018-19 that USU has used a different starting five.
When the Aggies put it together, it led to an 87-72 win over the Rams, and their third-straight Mountain West Conference win. Five players were in double figure for the Aggies, who improved to 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the conference.
“I think we played really hard as a team and shared the ball and got great shots and had a really great victory,” Miller said.
Miller scored 18 points and went 6 of 9 from the 3-point line. It’s the most points he has scored since Nov. 13, when he put up 26 against Mississippi Valley State. His six makes from beyond the arc tied a season high.
Miller said with Colorado State double-teaming freshman center Neemias Queta, he was able to get open shots that resulted from his teammates reversing the ball. Utah State tallied 23 assists on 32 made field goals.
“Our guys, we all share the ball really well and I’m glad I was able to get some open looks tonight,” Miller said.
Porter played 28 minutes in a surprise start, and scored seven points while adding three assists. Aggies coach Craig Smith said Porter has played well in practice lately and performed when he’s received minutes in recent games, which led to him calling Porter’s number for the start on Saturday.
“It just kind of felt like it was time for a change, mix it up a little bit and go from there,” Smith said.
• The Aggies won their third consecutive conference game.
• USU shot 12 of 25 from the 3-point line, a 48 percent clip.
• The Aggies had 23 assists on 32 made field goals
The Aggies hit the Rams with a 3-point barrage in the first half. Despite the majority of their offense this season coming from 2-point range, USU converted on seven of its 17 attempts in the first half, and ended the game 12 of 25.
Miller provided the bulk of those 3′s for the Aggies, who led 44-35 at halftime. His fifth triple of the half gave the Aggies a 16-point lead. He was 5 of 8 in the first 20 minutes.
Junior Diogo Brito’s’ 3-pointer put the Aggies up 17 midway through the second half, and Colorado State never really threatened from there.
Junior guard Sam Merrill, USU’s leading scorer, quietly had 16 points, but struggled on a 4-of-13 evening from the field and shot 3 of 9 from the 3-point line. Merrill less quietly distributed eight assists.
Queta established himself in the paint early in the game and finished with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He added 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Early in the game, Queta stole an inbounds pass and took it all the way for a dunk.
“I mean, Giannis Queta,” he said of the sequence, referring to Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.