Utah State basketball tips off season with 85-69 loss to VCU

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah State Aggies center Neemias Queta (23) controls the ball, as Weber State Wildcats forward Michal Kozak (11) defends, in basketball action in the Beehive Classic at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Saturday Dec. 8, 2018. Queta has 17 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday night's season-opening 85-69 loss to VCU in the quarterfinals of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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 a 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 and committed four turnovers 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 six-minute dry spell 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% from the field (28 of 53), including 41.7% from 3-point range (10 of 24), and 86.4% from the free-throw line (19 of 22).

Conversely, the Aggies shot 42.9% from the field (24 of 56), including 23.5% from beyond the arc (4 of 17), and 65.4% 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. (MST). The Jackrabbits opened the Crossover Classic with a 79-71 loss to No. 15 West Virginia.

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