EditorsNote: Changed Bean's first name in 1st graf,
Justin Bean recorded 18 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 25 Utah State held off host San Jose State 71-59 on Wednesday in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.
Utah State (8-1, 1-0 Mountain West) got off to a sluggish start, shooting just 2 of 8 from behind the 3-point arc and 4 of 10 from the free-throw line in the first half.
However, the Aggies -- picked to repeat as Mountain West champion in the preseason poll -- exerted their advantage on the interior over a Spartans team pegged for the conference cellar. Utah State outscored San Jose State 46-22 in the paint and extended a three-point halftime lead to double digits for much of the second half.
San Jose State (3-6, 0-1) hung around with a balanced scoring effort, paced by Seneca Knight's 17 points. Seven Spartans scored at least five points, including Christian Anigwe, who had eight points and tied Knight for the team high with six rebounds.
Knight hit a 3-pointer with 4:30 left that pulled San Jose State within nine points, but that was as close as the Spartans came down the stretch. Utah State did not surrender another field goal until an Anigwe layup with 37 seconds remaining.
In the second half, the Aggies held the Spartans to 10-of-24 shooting from the floor and 2-of-9 from behind the 3-point arc. San Jose State also committed seven turnovers in the half.
Utah State scored 11 points off San Jose State's 15 giveaways for the game.
In addition to Bean's game high in scoring, Utah State got 14 from Sam Merrill, 12 from Alphonso Anderson and 10 from Diogo Brito. Anderson rallied from a first half in which he turned the ball over three times and shot 1 of 3 from the free-throw line.
Utah State finished 4 of 17 from long range and 11 of 20 at the foul line. It ultimately didn't matter with their dominance of the lane.
The Spartans made 8 of 21 from 3-point range and sank 9 of 15 free throws.
--Field Level Media