LOGAN — The weather may have warmed slightly in Cache Valley, but Utah State’s shooting stayed cold Tuesday as the Aggies fell to Boise State, 76-61.
It was Utah State’s second consecutive home loss and dropped the Aggies to 1-2 in Mountain West play (9-5 overall).
“Defensively, that’s about as un-solid and as poor of performance as you can possibly have in every area and from every position,” USU head coach Tim Duryea said. “Really, you give yourself no chance to win when you let an opponent shoot 60 percent on your floor.”
Jalen Moore led all scorers with 18 points, but hit just 8-of-19 shots and the rest of the team wasn’t much better. USU struggled from the field — especially in the first half — couldn’t take advantage at the line (5-of-13) and was dismal from beyond the arc (6-of-22).
However, whatever offense the Aggies lacked, Boise State found — especially in the second half.
Boise State (11-4, 2-0) shot 59.6 percent for the game, including a scorching 70.8 percent in the second half. At one point, the Broncos made 8-of-9 attempts over a seven-minute stretch as they continued to build their lead.
“As well as we played offensively the second half, defensively we were even more poor than we were the first half,” Duryea said. “All in all, you just can’t win. You give yourself no chance to win when you’re that un-solid defensively.”
Utah State was able to close within one, 47-46, with 13:28 to play, but similar to the Aggies’ game against San Diego State on Saturday, they were unable to get over the hump. The Broncos embarked on a 14-4 run following a timeout and the Aggies never really threatened again.
Boise State finished with four players in double figures, led by guard Mikey Thompson who tallied 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. Chandler Hutchison (15 points), Nick Duncan (15) and James Webb III (12) also scored in double figures.
“The biggest thing is that it comes down to defense, and we’ve got to just compete with everyone we play,” said Grayson Moore, who finished with eight points, seven rebounds and three assists.
“We’ve got to find a way to come out the first four minutes and jump on teams. … We’ve just got to find a way to execute on offense, get stops and then finish it with a rebound. I think right now we’re giving up too many opportunities for teams and it stings us.”
It was the Broncos second-consecutive win in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum after never having won in the building prior to 2015.
After getting dominated on the offensive glass in Saturday’s game against the Aztecs, the Aggies showed improvement with an 11-5 advantage in that category. However, the extra shots didn’t add up to enough extra points, as the Broncos made three more field goals (28) than the Aggies (25) despite USU having 10 more shot attempts.
“I think we’re too offensively oriented in our thought process as players,” Duryea said. “I think we have too many guys try to base their game on their offensive production or offensive output, when you should as a basketball player, you’ve got to think about defending your position, rebounding your position — that’s what you need to base your game on. When you have those thoughts, then you’re usually a more efficient offensive player.”
Up next for Utah State is a road game against New Mexico at 4 p.m. Saturday. before returning home to host Air Force at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
“We’ve just got to bounce back on Saturday and get a big road win,” Jalen Moore said. “Kind of springboard our confidence, record and season.”
Follow Tim Olsen on Twitter, @TheRealTO.