LOGAN, Utah — Colorado State’s Kendle Moore and David Roddy proved to be too much for the Aggies Saturday night. Utah State fell to the Rams 66 to 55 on Senior Night.
Coming into the contest, Moore averaged 5.5 points per game. Tonight, the senior guard went off for a season-high 23 points. Moore drilled five 3-pointers, four of which came in the last 10 minutes of the game.
“I thought Kendle Moore was obviously the difference in the game all around,” head coach Ryan Odom said. “His threes were huge and timely and I thought he was huge for them.”
Roddy also helped propel the Rams over the Aggies. Utah State kept the junior forward from his season average of 19.7 points, but he still recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
One key issue for the Aggies was missed free throws. Utah State shot a season-low 33.3 percent from the charity stripe. They went 6-for-18 in the game and five of those misses came in the final eight minutes. Every Aggie that shot free throws missed at least one.
“We missed some things at the free-throw line that we’d like to have back,” Odom said. “We can’t go 6-for-18 from the free-throw line and expect to beat a good team. It’s just as simple as that.”
Guard RJ Eytle-Rock added that they “just need to be better” from the line.
“It’s really just yourself and the basketball so we have no excuses there,” Eytle-Rock said. “That’s 12 points right there that we could have had.”
For all four Aggie seniors, the night was bittersweet. Before tipoff, forwards Brandon Horvath and Justin Bean and guards Brock Miller and Eytle-Rock were honored on the court with their families.
“Fun start to the night honoring those four guys,” Odom said. “It was great to see their families out there, and all of our Aggie fans supporting them. That was a neat moment to hear those guys talk about their experiences. Two guys have been here a long time, and the other two kind of adopted this place. Just appreciative, first and foremost, (of) the opportunity to coach those guys.”
Eytle-Rock was also appreciative of the 9,219 Utah State fans at the Spectrum.
“It was definitely a special night here,” Eytle-Rock said. “The fans were great.”
It seemed like that positive energy fueled Eytle-Rock Saturday night. He finished with 14 points on three triples, six rebounds and two steals. Guard Steven Ashworth also finished in double digits with 11 points, five assists and a steal.
“They played great,” Bean said. “RJ (Eytle-Rock) definitely had some huge buckets, those threes at the end, and Steven (Ashworth) as well. I’m just really proud of them, how they stepped up.
Another memorable item before the contest was a moment of silence for Ukraine as they fight off a Russian invasion. Aggie guard Max Shulga is from Ukraine and his family is in the capital city of Kyiv amid the fighting.
“Max is an incredible person,” Bean said. “He’s more positive than others would think with what he’s going through. That speaks volumes to who he is and what he thinks about this team. He’s always put the team first… But Max, he’s doing fine… He’s always got a smile on his face and people may not see that a lot because he’s shy at times, but he’s awesome and we love him.”
Recognizing something bigger than basketball, Colorado State also participated in the moment of silence. In addition to that, the student section held up cards that made up the Ukrainian flag when Shulga checked into the game and several Aggie players wore yellow and blue shoelaces.
“I thought everyone tonight supporting him and praying for the country; it was just cool to see that, that collective unity from the city, the community,” Bean said.
On the court, Bean was limited by Roddy and the Rams offensively, but he still managed to collect his 18th double-double of the season. Bean finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“I felt like Roddy and Bean kind of canceled one another out there,” Odom said.
Bean’s biggest moment of the game came with 31 seconds left in the half. Bean jumped toward Roddy and swatted an easy basket away. The impressive block electrified the Spectrum.
“I knew he was going to post up,” Bean said. “He’s really aggressive in all the film we watched. When he gets any window, he’s going up with it. I tried to meet him at the rim and thankfully was able to make a good play. Got some momentum for the team and for myself, but again he’s a great player, great competitor so it was a battle all night.”
Unlike their hot start against New Mexico, the Aggies struggled early in the game. Moore started the scoring with a triple and the Rams held a lead the rest of the first half. Scoring droughts from misses and turnovers hampered Utah State as Colorado State built their lead to double digits. A late 11-5 Aggie run cut the Rams’ lead to six at the break, 30 to 24.
“I thought we were stagnant the first couple of media timeouts,” Bean said. “Then we got in a groove there… Closed the half down six and we thought we had a lot of momentum going into the second half.”
Guard Brock Miller jump-started the Aggie offense following halftime. His only points of the game were on the first basket in the second half. Miller started tonight for the first time since Dec. 29 to honor him for Senior Night.
“I thought he was tremendous,” Odom said. “His physicality and intensity (were) a big reason why we were able to get back in there. He’s not afraid to take the shot. I love that about him.”
Miller’s three out of the gate launched an 8-0 run that gave Utah State their first lead, 32 to 30, of the game. After trading baskets and scoring droughts for both teams, Moore hit two threes to start a 12-0 Colorado State run. They led 49 to 41 when the Aggies responded with a run of their own. A 10-3 stretch from Utah State cut the Rams’ lead to two, but after a foul, missed shot and turnover, the Aggies were down by eight. Colorado State closed out the game with free throws to win by 11.
“We competed for all 40 minutes, but fell short and obviously,” Bean said. “I wish it would have ended differently on Senior Night for myself and these guys.”
The loss drops the Aggies to 16-14 and 7-10 in conference play. Utah State finishes the regular season at San Jose State on Friday.
“We have a week off which will give us some time going into the tournament,” Eytle-Rock said. “We have a lot of things to work on, but I think we’ll be good. The guys are still positive. We played hard tonight.”