LOGAN, Utah – Utah State took care of business at home, decidedly defeating New Orleans 82 to 50. The Aggies manhandled the short-staffed Privateers in almost every statistical category. Utah State snapped their two-game losing streak with the win.
“A great win for us. A lot of contributors throughout the game. The key for us was what type of response we were going to have after coming off of a really heart-breaking loss to Saint Mary’s and then a game against BYU where they played extremely well and we certainly did not,” head coach Ryan Odom said.
Guard RJ Eytle-Rock hit a 3-pointer 16 seconds into the game and the Aggies never looked back, holding the lead the rest of the matchup. Eytle-Rock led the Aggies in points, tied with forward Justin Bean, with 14. He also picked up an assist, a rebound and a steal.
“Rylan (Jones) found me early in the corner. I just took my time and knocked it down. Definitely helps moving forward with the game,” Eytle-Rock.
“One of his better games. RJ can shoot,” Odom said. “I think his best days are clearly going to be ahead of him. He’s getting more comfortable out there… just being more confident and playing his game. I was excited about how he performed today.”
Utah State led by as much as 46 against New Orleans. Several Aggies made highlights throughout the beatdown.
Guard Rylan Jones found forward Justin Bean mid-air for a thunderous alley-oop just over three minutes into the game. The basket extended the Aggies’ lead to double-digits, 12-2. Bean finished with 14 points, three assists and eight rebounds. With 805 career rebounds, Bean passed Spencer Nelson as the record holder for the eighth-most rebounds in Aggie history.
“That was an incredible pass and an incredible catch. I haven’t seen many of those in my time,” Odom said. “What a play that was…they’ll be celebrating that one until they’re 55.”
Jones also nailed back-to-back triples with around three minutes left to go in the first half. Those baskets stretched the Aggie lead to 39 to 17. Those were Jones’s only points in the contest but he was a ball-movement wizard. He ended up tying his career-high in assists with 11. Jones also had two rebounds and four steals.
“Rylan’s a great facilitator,” Eytle-Rock said. “Definitely helps our offense. As the game goes on they don’t know what to do. Do they come and help or do they just stay out and then that’s when guys get open drives to the basket.”
Guard Brock Miller helped an assistant clean a spill on the court then drilled a corner three. The student section chanted “Mr. Clean” to celebrate. It was a slower night for Miller as he ended up with six points and an assist in 14 minutes.
“It’s always fun to see the student section get involved and the whole stadium cheering like that. It’s pretty electric as a player. Brock is one of the funniest dudes I’ve ever met. He loves it and it’s funny to watch the crowd react to him like that,” center Trevin Dorius said.
Dorius threw down four mighty dunks, three coming in the second half.
“That’s great to see. It definitely gives us more energy when they (are) catching and dunking and just rocking the rim,” Eytle-Rock said.
Dorius tied his career-high in points with 12 and had a season-high nine rebounds, just one short of a double-double.
“There’s something cool about getting that first dunk,” Dorius said. “One leads to another and then you start to get rolling. For me, just coming back the last few weeks, it was just a big confidence booster to start seeing things work out in my favor.”
“We gave (Dorius) a chance pretty quickly,” Odom said. “He delivered. I thought he had an excellent game. Caught the ball, played good defense around the rim. I thought that was definitely a bright spot for us.”
Guard Sean Bairstow appeared to significantly injure his hand during the game. He left the contest and went straight up the tunnel with about just under 10 minutes left in the game. Bairstow has already dealt with two injuries in this campaign. Coming into the season, he was nursing a broken wrist and a lacerated kidney.
“It broke the skin,” Odom said. “Hopefully he’s okay. I feel bad that obviously that happened to him as he’s playing well for us and we need him. But at the same time, we started the season without him and we’ll kinda see how that develops.”
Utah State played lock-down defense the entire night. They limited the Privateers to 29% shooting from the floor. The Aggies combined for five blocks, 12 steals and forced 19 turnovers. Utah State also outrebounded New Orleans 40-38.
“I feel like we did a good job,” Dorius said. “I think it was well scouted. You’ve got to give credit to the coaches for preparing us for that.”
New Orleans was limited to seven players during the contest. Several Privateers appeared to be ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols.
“You’ve got to give New Orleans credit. They came out with seven guys and they played their hearts out,” Dorius said.
With the victory, Utah State improves to 7-3 on the season. They will take on Weber State in Ogden, Utah on Dec. 15.