After trailing by as many as 18, the Aggies hoped to duplicate the late-game magic that saw the Utah Utes advance in their own conference tournament earlier the same evening.
Instead USU came up short, falling 83-78 against fourth-seeded UT Arlington in the Western Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Jarred Shaw led the Aggies with 20 points and Ben Clifford hit 5-of-6 from 3-point range as both teams shot well over 50 percent from the field. The Mavericks, however, had 17 more shot attempts thanks to 14 USU turnovers and nine offensive rebounds.
The Aggies actually took a 70-69 lead on a Shaw free throw with just over three minutes remaining, part of seven points in a 3-minute span from the junior big man. Utah State then fell behind by five with under a minute remaining, but Clifford's last 3-pointer pulled them within two.
USU got the chance they needed after the Mavericks' Kevin Butler missed the second of two free throws, but Clifford turned the ball over on the ensuing possession. Incredibly, Jordan Reves missed both free throws to give the Aggies another chance, but they squandered it with another turnover that led to a Butler layup, sealing the game.
Matt Petersen is the sports Web editor for DeseretNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.