LOGAN — The slide continues.
In a story that is becoming all too familiar to Utah State fans, the Aggies played hard and kept the game close before bowing out down the stretch.
As a result, New Mexico became the latest conference team to hand Utah State a loss in the Spectrum. The Lobos beat USU 78-65 Tuesday night.
The Aggies (12-8, 2-6) have now lost four straight games, with the last two coming at home.
New Mexico was led by Cameron Bairstow. The senior forward finished with 22 points and six rebounds.
"That's a really good basketball team," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "They pretty much dominated both halves. They are hard to guard. They have a couple of premier players ... I just thought they were really good."
Fresh off a defensive slugfest Saturday night against San Diego State, the Aggies found themselves in an offensive shootout early against the Lobos (16-4, 7-1). Both teams came out hot from the outside, with New Mexico converting on 6 of 12 attempts from deep and Utah State hitting 5 of 9.
The problem for USU was that it had a difficult time hitting shots close to the basket. Inside the arc, the Aggies were just 7 of 21 on two-point attempts in the first half. The hot-and-cold shooting, combined with seven first-half turnovers, left the Aggies down by eight points, 41-33, at the half. Preston Medlin led the Aggies with six points during the first half, part of a balanced effort that saw eight USU players score and 10 players log minutes.
Medlin finished the game with 13 points and nine assists. Jarred Shaw led the team with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Forward Kyle Davis did not start after missing the Aggies' previous two games with an injury, but he did come off the bench to score 10 points and grab five boards.
"Personally it felt good to get back out and playing," Davis said. "The knee was a little painful in the beginning, but started feeling well by the end."
Backed by Davis, Utah State made a run in the second half. After trailing by as many as 12, the Aggies cut New Mexico's lead to just two on a Medlin 3-pointer with 9:44 left.
The Lobos responded with a 14-5 run to push the lead back to double digits and seal the game.12 comments on this story
After making five of their first six 3-point attempts, the Medlin trey would be the only make from beyond the arc in the second half as the Lobos adjusted and forced Utah State to play inside. After cutting the deficit to just two the Aggies scored only 13 points during the final 10 minutes.
Overall the Aggies shot 42 percent from the field.
Utah State will travel to Wyoming on Saturday afternoon for its next game.
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.