November 30, 2019 / 7:04 AM / 13 days ago

Saint Mary's upsets No. 15 Utah State

EditorsNote: Changes in first, second, fifth and sixth grafs to clarify, add details

Nov 29, 2019; Moraga, CA, USA; Utah State Aggies guard Abel Porter (15) drives against Saint Mary’s Gaels guard Jordan Ford (3) during the first half at McKeon Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Ford buried five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points, Malik Fitts added 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Saint Mary’s scored seven straight points late in the game to knock off No. 15 Utah State 81-73 on Friday night in Moraga, Calif.

Ford, a senior guard, was a highlight show in the second half, hitting 8 of 10 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, to break open a game that featured numerous ties and lead changes for the first 36-plus minutes until the Gaels’ late surge. Ford finished the night shooting 10-of-18 from the floor, including 5-of-9 on 3-pointers,

Saint Mary’s (7-1) was 8-for-19 on 3-pointers and outrebounded the Aggies (7-1) 33-31 to gain a signature victory.

Justin Bean finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Sam Merrill had 23 and six boards for the Aggies.

Tied for the 12th time, at 61-61, with just over five minutes to play, Merrill scored on a cutting layup and Bean hit two free throws to give Utah State a 65-61 lead with 4:25 left. But Ford answered with a deep wing 3-pointer, then added a steal and fed Fitts for a two-handed dunk for a 66-65 lead with 3:29 left.

Bean helped Utah State regain the lead with two free throws, but Ford hit another 3-pointer to give the Gaels a 69-67 lead with 2:43 left. Tanner Krebs hit a 3-pointer and Matthias Tass scored on a short jumper to widen the Saint Mary’s lead to 74-67.

Utah State struggled on the boards due to missing 7-foot-2 Kuba Karwowski. The junior center will miss at least three weeks after having his appendix removed, the school announced. Seven-foot sophomore center Neemias Queta also missed the key battle of West Coast teams. Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s suffered its own injury blow when the 6-10 Tass left the game with an apparent ankle injury before returning. Tass finished with 15 points and six assists.

Utah State, which was off to its best start since 1961-62 and highest ranking since 1970-71, closed the first half with an 8-2 run for a 36-34 lead following a deep 3 by Merrill. Both teams shot 50 percent in the first half and combined for seven 3s.

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