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Logan • The only thing Utah State can do now, senior Chris Smith says, is "have a short memory."
After Saturday night's 70-67 loss to San Diego State, the Aggies don't have any time to dwell on a winnable game that got away.
They play host to Boise State on Tuesday. The Broncos shared the regular-season championship with San Diego State last season and, once again, are a projected top-three team in the Mountain West Conference.
Still, Utah State's what-if performance against San Diego State was one which could haunt the Aggies in March, when seeding for the Mountain West tournament is established.
Trailing 39-36, after rallying from an eight-point deficit, Utah State watched the Aztecs score the first 10 points of the second half. The Aggies misfired on their first six possessions. They needed 3:24 to score.
Asked about the slow start in the second half, coach Tim Duryea said, "That's a mystery. … [It] was unexplainable. We were only down three and we came out as flat as we could be. We gave them a couple baskets defensively without much resistance. I was disappointed because I thought we were really sub-par defensively. We let them off the hook a little bit. … Very disappointing."
Smith, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, agreed.
"We came out slow in the second half not enough energy on our part," he said. "… We should have never have had to get over that hump. We could have run away with that game if we came out like we did in the first half. It's just plain and simple."
Still, the Aggies rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final 17 minutes and had a chance to win. Smith could have tied the game with 1:03 remaining, but he made only one of two free throws.
On the next possession, San Diego State ran a well-executed pick-and-roll that resulted in Zylan Cheatham's reverse lay-up with 38 seconds remaining.
"The biggest shot of the game," said Duryea. "… Just a defensive mistake a missed assignment and it ends up in a wide-open lay-up. We were not as solid as we needed to be."
Utah State shot only 33 percent in the second half, including 3-for-12 after making it 60-56 with 8:22 remaining.
"Once we got close," Duryea said, "I thought we settled for a few shots offensively. We quit attacking the basket and let them breath a little bit. … We were a lot choppier in the second half than in the first half. We didn't get into any kind of rhythm offensively."
San Diego State out-rebounded Utah State, 39-30. The Aztecs parlayed 16 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points.
"Rebounding was the story of the game," Duryea said.
Boise State at Utah State
P At the Spectrum
Tuesday, 8 p.m.
TV • CBS Sports Network