Athletics

No. 3 Seed Utah State Knocks Off No. 6 Seed New Mexico 91-76 in MW Quarterfinals

By Wade Denniston |

Grad forwards Dan Akin and Taylor Funk play against New Mexico in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Championships on Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. (Photo Credit: C. Morgan Engel/NCAA)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Grad forward Taylor Funk scored 21 of his season-high 32 points in the first half to help propel third-seeded Utah State to a 91-76 victory over sixth-seeded New Mexico in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Championships on Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Funk scored the first 16 points of the game for the Aggies (25-7), who will take on No. 2 seed Boise State (24-7) in the semifinals of the tournament on Friday at 10 p.m. (MT). The Broncos advanced to the semis with an 87-76 victory in overtime over UNLV.

Junior guard Steven Ashworth 22 points five assists and four rebounds, while grad forward Dan Akin had a monster game off the bench, pouring in 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds to help Utah State outrebound New Mexico 40-36.

The Aggies, who led wire-to-wire, have now won seven-straight games and 10 of the last 11 in the series against the Lobos.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. led the Lobos (21-10) in scoring with 20 points, while Morris Udeze had 16. Jaelen House and Josiah Allick added 14 points apiece.

Funk wasted little time helping Utah State build a double-digit lead as it took him less than five minutes to score the Aggies’ first 16 points of the game, while the Lobos only managed to put the ball in the hoop twice during that span.

Utah State led by as many as 13 in the opening half, but went into the locker room with a 44-33 advantage.

The Lobos made things interesting early in the second half as they opened with a 10-5 run to pare the deficit to 49-43, but that’s as close as they would get the rest of the way.

Senior guard Max Shulga was the only other Aggie to score in double figures as he had 12 points, to go along with five assists, three rebounds and two steals.

Utah State had 21 assists on 30 made baskets. In fact, every player that checked into the game had at least one helper on the night, including five each from Ashworth and Shulga.

The Aggies shot 48.4 percent from the field (30-of-62), including 50.0 percent from beyond the arc (12-of-24), and 73.1 percent from the free throw line (19-of-26).

Defensively, Utah State held New Mexico to 43.8 percent shooting from the field (28-of-64), including 20.0 percent from 3-point range (2-of-10). The Lobos connected on 72.0 percent of their shots from the charity stripe (18-of-25).

For more information on Utah State's men's basketball program, follow the Aggies on Twitter at @usubasketball, on Facebook at usumensbasketball and on Instagram at usubasketball. Fans can also watch USU men's basketball highlights by visiting youtube.com/utahstateathletics.

WRITER

Wade Denniston
Communicator
Athletics Media Relations
(435) 797-1361
wade.denniston@usu.edu

CONTACT

Ashley Springer
Utah State University Athletics
Assistant Media Relations Coordinator
435-797-5547
ashley.springer@usu.edu


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