Utah State men’s basketball led start to finish in an 80-71 victory over San Jose State on Wednesday night in the Mountain West opener for both schools. The win marked the fourth straight for the Aggies and moved USU to 9-3 on the year and 1-0 in the Mountain West.
The league-opening victory was also Utah State’s second straight over San Jose State in as many years as junior wing Jalen Moore scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Aggies. Moore was followed by his brother, Grayson, with a career-high tying 12, while senior guard Darius Perkins and sophomore guard Julion Pearre turned in 11 points apiece.
The Aggies were able to pick apart the San Jose State zone throughout the night, logging 20 assists on 26 baskets, including a season-high tying 11 buckets from behind the 3-point line. Junior guard Shane Rector led the Aggies with a season-high tying six assists.
Overall, Utah State shot 47.3 percent (26-of-55) on the night, including 55.0 percent (11-of-20) from long range, while shooting 68.0 percent (17-of-25) from the free-throw line. San Jose State finished its night shooting 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the floor, including 39.1 percent (9-of-23) from behind the 3-point line, while shooting 60.9 percent (14-of-23) from the free-throw line.
J. Moore scored the opening baskets of the game, including a alley-oop dunk via a pass from Rector, giving the Aggies an early 4-0 lead. Rector’s 3-point shot with just more than four minutes left in the half gave Utah State its first double-digit lead of the game, 34-23. The Aggies went into the break with a 45-31 lead behind a pair of free throws by Grayson Moore and have gone undefeated this year (9-0) when leading at the half.
San Jose State opened the second half with a 14-4 run to come to within four, 49-45, but the run was countered by a 14-2 Utah State run, putting the Aggies back up 16, 63-47, with just more than nine minutes to play. The double-digit margin held until the Spartans finished the game with a 5-1 run, leading to the final score of 80-71.
Utah State is back in action on Saturday, hosting San Diego State in its Mountain West home opener at 8 p.m.
Kyle Cottam is the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at Utah State University.