Fresno, Calif. • Sam Merrill scored 20 points and freshman Neemias Queta had 18 points and 15 rebounds to help Utah State hold off Fresno State 82-81 on Tuesday night in a battle for second place in the Mountain West Conference.

Sam Bittner nailed a 3-pointer to give Fresno State a 67-64 lead with 8:22 left to play. Abel Porter pulled the Aggies (18-5, 8-2 MWC) even with a 3-pointer, added 1 of 2 free throws, Queta followed with a dunk and Brock Miller hit from deep 3 to cap a 9-0 run that gave Utah State the lead for good. Noah Blackwell’s 3-pointer cut the Bulldogs’ deficit to 80-78 with three seconds left, but Merrill sank two free throws to make it a two-possession game before Deshon Taylor hit a 3 at the buzzer.

Miller, a freshman, hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 for Utah State.

Braxton Huggins topped Fresno State (16-6, 7-3) with 26 points and six rebounds.

UTAH ST. 82, FRESNO ST. 81
UTAH ST. (18-5)
Q.Taylor 3-6 2-2 9, Queta 8-9 1-3 18, Porter 2-4 1-2 6, Merrill 6-15 6-6 20, Miller 6-9 0-0 17, Bean 1-1 0-0 2, Brown 1-3 0-0 3, Brito 3-7 0-0 7, T.Knight 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-55 10-13 82.
FRESNO ST. (16-6)
Grimes 2-4 2-4 6, Bittner 5-9 0-0 13, D.Taylor 6-13 2-2 17, Williams 3-7 0-1 7, Huggins 8-16 7-7 26, Gray 0-0 0-0 0, Rojas 0-1 0-0 0, Blackwell 4-6 0-0 9, Agau 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 29-59 11-14 81.
Halftime—Utah St. 43-37. 3-Point Goals—Utah St. 12-26 (Miller 5-7, Merrill 2-5, Queta 1-1, Porter 1-2, Brown 1-2, Q.Taylor 1-3, Brito 1-5, T.Knight 0-1), Fresno St. 12-27 (Bittner 3-5, D.Taylor 3-6, Huggins 3-8, Agau 1-1, Blackwell 1-3, Williams 1-3, Grimes 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Utah St. 30 (Queta 15), Fresno St. 26 (Huggins 6). Assists—Utah St. 18 (Queta 6), Fresno St. 11 (Blackwell 4). Total Fouls—Utah St. 12, Fresno St. 15.