We could have come in here and played well and lost. We didn't. We came in here and played poorly and lost. Their defense is very good. They gave us very little. They were long and tough on the boards. —Utah State coach Stew Morrill
SAN DIEGO — The Utah State Aggies came close to season lows in points scored and field-goal percentage.
That's how good No. 6 San Diego State was in taking a 60-45 victory against the Aggies on Tuesday night, the Aztecs' 12th straight home victory.
"Offensively we couldn't find our rhythm," Utah State's Spencer Butterfield said. "We've got to give San Diego credit. They played great defense. But we missed some shots we usually make."
Matt Shrigley scored 15 points — including four 3-pointers — Josh Davis added 12 points and Skylar Spencer 10 for the Aztecs (23-2, 12-1 Mountain West Conference), who play their much-anticipated first game of the season against New Mexico on Saturday night. The Lobos (19-5, 10-2) are in second place in the MWC going into their game at UNLV on Wednesday night. The Aztecs and Lobos finish the regular season at San Diego on March 8.
Utah State (15-11, 5-9) would have tied its season-low of 42 points if not for a 3-pointer by Viko Noma'aea with 29 seconds left. SDSU held the Aggies to 34 percent shooting. SDSU led by double digits since 10:56 in the first half and scored the last 10 points of the game.
"We could have come in here and played well and lost," coach Stew Morrill said. "We didn't. We came in here and played poorly and lost. Their defense is very good. They gave us very little. They were long and tough on the boards.
"We played better defensively in the second half but we couldn't make shots," Morrill said. "We couldn't do much against their defense. That kid Shrigley hasn't made shots (lately) but he made a bunch tonight and that helped them offensively."
The previous high for Shrigley, a redshirt freshman, was 14 points against San Diego Christian on Nov. 20.
SDSU was playing one day after dropping one spot in The Associated Press Top 25. It lost at Wyoming a week earlier, its first defeat since Nov. 14, at home to Arizona. The Aztecs rebounded by beating Air Force at home on Saturday night.
Jarred Shaw and Butterfield scored 10 points apiece for Utah State.
Utah State pushed the Aztecs into overtime at Logan on Jan. 25 before losing 74-69. The Aggies shot 60.9 percent in the second half of that game.
San Diego State took control early, holding Utah State scoreless for nearly six minutes while going on a 12-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Shrigley for a 16-5 lead. After Shaw made a layup, Shrigley hit another 3.
San Diego State quickly pushed the lead to 32-14, getting a three-point play and a layup from JJ O'Brien, a bucket off a rebound by Winston Shepard and a layup and two free throws by Thames.
The Aztecs led 35-22 at halftime.