Balanced Utah State tops Washington State 82-73 in Hawaii

Aggies take third place in Diamond Head Classic

Utah State guard Steven Ashworth (3) dribbles past SMU guard Jalen Smith (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Honolulu. Ashworth scored 12 points in the Aggies' win over Washington State on Sunday. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Honolulu • Steven Ashworth was perfect from long distance, making three of Utah State’s 11 3-pointers, and scored 12 points in a balanced attack that led the Aggies to an 82-73 win over Washington State in the third-place game of the Diamond Head Classic on Sunday.

Utah State was 11-17 behind the arc (65%) and 32-53 overall (60%), both numbers better than the Aggies managed from the foul line, where they were 7 of 15.

Taylor Funk and Trevin Dorius also had 12 points apiece for the Aggies (11-2), Sean Bairstow and Max Shulga each had 11 and Dan Akin was 5-for-5 shooting and added 10 points.

Mouhamed Gueye scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Cougars (5-8), while TJ Bomba was 10 of 12 from the foul line and scored 19 points. Justin Powell added 10 points.

Washington State was 2 of 17 (12%) from 3-point range and shot 24 of 54 (48%) overall but was 23 of 26 from the foul line.

Utah State was 7-of-11 shooting from long range in the first half with five different players connection, to take a 42-29 lead. The Cougars missed all seven of their long shots.

A three-point play by Andrej Jakimovski and a layup by Carlos Rosario on the next possession had Washington State within 50-41 but that was the only time the difference was in single digits in the second half until Bomba scored at the buzzer to cap a 7-0 WSU finish.

The difference was 10 until Utah State went on a 12-0 run in the middle of the second half, Ashworth hitting at jumper at 9:34 to make it 73-51. Ashworth hit a 3 on the next possession for the big lead of the game, 76-53, with 8:48 to play. WSU answered with a 9-0 before the closing burst.

Washington State returns to Pac-12 play on Friday when No. 13 UCLA visits Pullman. Utah State starts Mountain West play on New Year’s Eve day when Fresno State visits.