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Utah State men’s basketball’s record helped by success in close games. That could come in handy against No. 13 San Diego State.

The locker room was quiet. It was halftime of a late-November game against Louisiana State University, and the Utah State basketball team was down 14. Every player felt dejected after what sophomore forward Justin Bean described as “the worst half of basketball we’d ever played.”

Then senior guard Diogo Brito, one three captains for the Aggies, addressed the room, which had not yet been entered by the coaching staff. His message may have seemed unbelievable in the moment, but not for the players who listened.

“We’re going to win this game,” said Bean, recalling Brito’s words. “Don’t hang your heads.