Tonights game between USF and Utah State was played in the Chase Center, and it had huge implications for both teams who want to make another NCAA Tournament appearance. The Dons started off slowly, turning the ball over and allowing the Aggies to get off to a 13-5 lead. Utah State was dominant on offense, putting on a finishing clinic and continuing to put pressure on USF.
Things got worse as USF got into foul trouble, with both Tyrell Roberts and Isaiah Hawthorne getting two early fouls, but USF fought back late in the first half to cut the lead to five after a Khalil Shabazz three. Marcus Williams also gave the Dons some good minutes, scoring six straight points at one point. However, Utah State took some momentum into the half after a Dan Akin jumper gave them a 44-30 lead.
The second half wasn’t much better, and Utah State got their lead up to 22 after more porous USF defense allowed the Aggies to score at will. Saba Gigiberia gave the Dons some momentum with 5 quick points and a block, but it didn’t help much. Justin Bieker made his first appearance outside of garbage time in his career, and gave the Dons some energy. USF went on a 17-2 run, and got the USF faithful at the Chase Center on their feet.
Utah State responded to the pressure, and some questionable shots from the Dons allowed them to recapture a double digit lead, and eventually win 82-64. Utah State moved to 7-0, while USF fell to 7-2, and will now focus on Merrimack on Wednesday.
After the game I spoke with Head Coach Chris Gerlufsen