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Mar 23, 2024 1:05 am

Utah State ousts TCU, earns crack at No. 1 Purdue

TCU, Utah State

INDIANAPOLIS — Isaac Johnson scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half to lead eighth-seeded Utah State to a 88-72 first-round Midwest Region win over ninth-seeded TCU on Friday.

Utah State snapped a 10-game NCAA Tournament losing streak with the win Friday night. The Aggies last tasted March Madness victory in 2001 with a 77-68 overtime win against Ohio State in the first round of the East Region.

Ian Martinez added a game-high 21 while Darius Brown II chipped in with 10 points and 10 assists for Utah State (28-6), which advances to play top-seeded Purdue on Sunday.

JaKobe Coles had 19 points while Emanuel Miller added 13 points and 11 rebounds for TCU (21-13), which jumped out to leads of 16-8 and 18-10 but couldn’t hold on.

The Aggies put away the Horned Frogs with a combination of inside strength in the first half and dazzling 3-point shooting in the second half, sinking five of their first nine second-half attempts from beyond the arc.

Miller led the way for Horned Frogs in the first half, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including two 3-pointers.

However, Utah State went on a 20-10 run, led by Great Osobor’s seven points, to move on top 30-28.

Utah State outscored TCU 28-12 in the paint during the first half and used 9-0 run late in the period to take a 43-35 lead. Micah Peavy cut the margin lead to six by hitting a layup with 30 seconds left to give the Horned Frogs some momentum heading into halftime.

A free throw from Xavier Cork brough TCU within 51-47 with 15:29 to go.

Johnson then drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to expand the lead to 10. After a Coles jumper, Johnson drained two free throws, giving him 12 consecutive Aggies points and handing Utah State a 59-49 lead with 13:04 left.

After four straight points from Avery Anderson III, Martinez and Brown sank treys as part of an 18-7 run that expanded Utah State’s lead to 69-54.

–Mike Petraglia, Field Level Media

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