Merrill scores 20, leads Utah State past Northern Iowa 71-52

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Sam Merrill scored 20 points as host Utah State beat Northern Iowa 71-52 on Wednesday night in the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge.

The Aggies (6-1) snapped a two-game losing skid and are now 2-2 in their annual contest.

Merrill, a junior guard who led all scorers with 50 points in two games during the MGM Main Event in Las Vegas, made 7 of 14 field goals and all four of his free-throw attempts.

Luke McDonnell scored 14 points to lead Northern Iowa (3-4).

Utah State built a 31-23 halftime lead. The Panthers stayed within double digits until a 5-0 spurt made it 48-35 with nine minutes left and they didn’t get closer. Diogo Brito’s two free throws stretched the Aggies’ lead to 60-42 with 5:22 remaining.

It was the first meeting between the schools.