LOGAN — The Utah State Aggies definitely could have used less Moore.

But after having a quiet first half, Colorado State guard Kendle Moore knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 18 of his game-high 23 points to lead the Rams to a 66-55 win over Utah State Saturday night at the Spectrum. 

“How about Kendle Moore?,” CSU head coach Nike Medved said after his team’s seventh win in its last eight games. “We knew we needed somebody else to step up here and he did that in a big-time way.”

After trailing for most of the game, Utah State (16-14 overall, 7-10 in the Mountain West) put together a modest 5-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 41-37, with 10:19 remaining.

But Moore promptly buried back-to-back 3-pointers to quickly regain the lead for the third-place Rams (23-4, 13-4). 

Utah State’s perimeter shooting also went ice cold against CSU’s zone during that stretch, eventually leading to a 12-0 Colorado State run that put the Rams up 49-41, an eight-point deficit the Aggies were never able to recover from. 

In addition to Moore, who totaled just five points in CSU’s 77-72 win over Utah State at Fort Collins on Jan. 12, the Rams got 13 points and seven rebounds from junior forward David Roddy and 11 points from junior guard Isaiah Stevens. 

“I thought Kendle Moore was obviously the difference in the game all around,” USU head coach Ryan Odom said.

“I felt like Roddy and (Justin) Bean kind of canceled one another out there, and (Moore) was a difference-maker in that particular game. His 3s were huge and timely, and I thought he was huge for them.”

Related
3 keys to Utah State’s 66-55 loss to Colorado State

Colorado State also dominated the boards by a 43-26 total — easily USU’s worst rebound margin of the season — while shooting 44.2% from the floor, including a 9-of-20 performance from 3-point range.

“Massive win tonight for our guys,” Medved said. “I thought they played with tremendous poise in a really difficult environment. (USU) is a really good team. Well-coached veteran players. They had a great crowd tonight.”

The loss was the sixth of the season for the Aggies on their home court, ruining the Senior Night celebration for Bean, Brock Miller, Brandon Horvath and RJ Eytle-Rock.

While that group combined for 14 of USU’s 21 field goals and 38 of its 55 points, it wasn’t enough to overcome some peculiar offensive statistics.

Utah State connected on 14 of 26 shots from inside the arc, but went just 7 for 25 from 3-point range and a woeful 6 for 18 from the free-throw line. 

“For us, 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,” Odom said, “and the rebounding was a pretty big differential there.”

In addition to the seniors, starting sophomore guard Steven Ashworth delivered 11 points and five assists, but the Aggie bench contributed just six points.

Eytle-Rock, whose mother, Ruth Eytle-Rock, made the long trip from London for her son’s final two home games of the season, led the Aggies with 14 points on three 3-pointers.

Bean posted his 18th double-double of the year with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Horvath scored 11 points and Miller finished with three points.

Although all four of those players were honored before the start of the game, only Horvath is certain not to return next season.

The other three, who could come back for another year due to the pandemic, have yet to announce their plans. 

“For sure we competed for all 40 minutes, but fell short and obviously I wish it would have ended differently on Senior Night for myself and these guys,” Bean said.

“We have work to do and there’s still a long road ahead of us, and we’re excited. We’re ready to meet the challenge going forward.”

The Aggies, who have one more regular season game remaining Friday at San Jose State, got off to a “stagnant” start according to Bean.

In stark contrast to Tuesday’s rout of New Mexico in which USU knocked down its first eight shots and totaled its first 20 points in just over five minutes, Utah State had just one field goal in the first six minutes and fell behind 11-4 and 17-8 early in the game.

The Aggies ended up trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, but they managed to rally over the final five minutes behind some big plays, most notably Bean’s spectacular block of the 255-pound Roddy right on the rim, and trimmed CSU’s advantage to 30-24 by intermission.

The home team then scored the first eight points of the second half to take its first lead of the game at 32-30.

The two old rivals then battled back and forth until that modest, 5-0 spurt by the Aggies suddenly put them out in front by four points with just over 10 minutes left. 

But thanks to Moore’s hot hand and some veteran play by Roddy and Stevens, that little lead disappeared in a hurry and so did USU’s hopes of pulling off the upset. 

“You knew that Utah State was going to make a run and they did, especially at the beginning of the second half,” Medved said.

“And then I thought our guys really dug in and didn’t let any of the frustration of the game get to them.”

Beyond Senior Night, some additional moments before the start of Saturday’s game made it an emotional evening for the crowd of 9,219 at the Spectrum.

Sophomore guard Max Shulga, who scored two points in eight minutes on Saturday, and Aggie volleyball player Kristy Frank are both natives of Kyiv, Ukraine, leading to USU holding a moment of silence before the game for those affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week.

The student section also displayed blue and yellow cards in honor of the war-torn nation, and Shulga had a Ukrainian flag wrapped around his shoulders during player introductions.