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Ryan Connors | | March 3, 2019

Utah State upsets No. 12 Nevada to take Mountain West lead

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The No. 12 Nevada Wolf Pack lost both their game and claim to the No. 1 spot in the Mountain West standings Saturday to Utah State, which pulled off the 81-76 upset to win and move into first place in the conference.

The Aggies were up as many asĀ 13 pointsĀ in the second half before Nevada mounted a comeback. Wolf PackĀ seniors Caleb Martin and Tre'Shawn Thurman had 23 and 21 points, respectively, but Sam Merrill and Utah State were able to outlast Nevada. Utah State was only 5-of-17 as team from beyond the arc, but Merrill was 4 of 7 from deep on top of a 9-of-10 mark on free throws to lead the Aggies. He finished with 29 points andĀ was the defender on this late-game charge call:

After struggling with turnovers in a 72-49 loss to Nevada on Jan. 2, Utah State keptĀ control of the ball on Saturday night.

"At their place, we turned it over 20 times and tonight, we turned it over 11 times. We held them to two points in transition and they are electric in transition with a capital E," Utah State head coach Craig Smith told reporters after the game. "That really gave us a chance and kept us in the game. Heck of a win against a fantastic opponent."

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The win bumpsĀ Utah State to 14-3 in the Mountain West. The Aggies can clinch at least a share of the conference titleĀ at Colorado State on Tuesday. Nevada is 13-3 with two games remaining: at Air Force on Tuesday andĀ San Diego State at home on Saturday.

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