LOGAN, Utah -- Alphonso Anderson had 21 points, six rebounds and three assists and Justin Bean added 18 points, 10 rebounds and three assists to help No. 17 Utah State beat North Carolina A&T 81-54 on Friday night.
“I thought we did some really good things,” Utah State coach Craig Smith said. “I thought we did a great job on the glass, outrebounding them 44-28, held them to 35% on the game, and 22 assists on 29 made baskets.”
Ronald Jackson led North Carolina A&T with 15 points.
“I thought we went toe-to-toe with a very, very, very good program for maybe 30-31 minutes and then talent started to take over,” North Carolina A&T coach Jay Joyner said.
With North Carolina A&T (1-3) rallying in the second half, Utah State (4-0) made a key run to pull away.
After trailing by as much as 15 points, North Carolina A&T cut it to six points on Fred Cleveland’s 3-pointer with 14:03 left. Utah State regrouped and went on a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to make it 51-36. Utah State took advantage of three North Carolina A&T turnovers, with Bean scoring five of the Aggies’ nine points.
“In the second half, when we had that lineup of small ball creating mismatches and scoring at will, I think that really helped us to extend our lead,” Bean said.
For the third straight game, Utah State raced to a big lead, getting out to a 12-2 advantage. North Carolina A&T rallied through the first half to climb within eight points on Tyler Maye’s jumper.
Utah State finished the half on a 10-3 run to take a 38-23 lead.
Utah State has had a different leading scorer in every game this season. Merrill scored 28 points in the Aggies’ season-opening win over Montana State, Bean had 18 in a blowout victory over Weber State, and Brock Miller had 27 in the win over Denver.
North Carolina A&T: North Carolina A&T hung with Utah State at points in the game and forced 15 Utah State turnovers, getting contributions from Jackson, Maye and Cleveland.
Utah State: Utah State was able to make runs at opportune times to pull away from North Carolina A&T. Sophomore center Neemias Queta sat out again, rehabbing his knee injury.
North Carolina A&T: At North Texas on Tuesday night.
Utah State: Host UTSA on Monday night.