Jan. 12, 2008
LOGAN, Utah - One streak continued while another was stopped and history was tied Saturday night with Utah State's 74-62 win over New Mexico State in Western Athletic Conference action at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The navy-clad Aggies won their seventh in a row while stopping the maroon Aggies' four-game win streak and USU head coach Stew Morrill tied E.Lowell Romney for the most wins in school history with his 225th victory.
Utah State also knocked NMSU from atop the WAC standings and the navy Aggies take over the conference lead with a 2-0 league record while New Mexico State now has a 3-1 WAC mark.
USU improved to 12-5 overall in winning for the 10th time in last 12 games, while NMSU fell to 9-10 overall.
The northern Aggies also remain the only team in the league unbeaten at home with a 10-0 ledger this season and USU improves to 15-3 at home all-time against WAC teams.
Morrill is now 225-80 in his 10th season as Utah State head coach, tying Romney (1920-41) from the most wins in school history.
Junior forward Gary Wilkinson (South Jordan, Utah) tallied team highs of 18 points and eight rebounds while senior All-American guard Jaycee Carroll (Evanston, Wyo.) tossed in 15 points and senior forward Stephen DuCharme (Andover, Kan.) added 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench. The home team's bench outscored its counterparts, 26-5. Freshman forward Tai Wesley (Provo, Utah) also snagged seven rebounds as USU had a slight, 41-40, rebounding edge.
Carroll now has 2,097 career points, leaving him 30 points shy of tying Greg Grant (1983-86) for the school's scoring record of 2,127 points.
New Mexico State was led by Jonathan Gibson's 22 points including five three-pointers, netting 15 points after halftime. Fred Peete added 16 points, while Wendell McKines pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
USU shot 45.0 percent (27-of-60) from the field, hitting 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from three-point range, as well as 70.0 percent (14-of-20) at the free throw line.
NMSU hit just 24-of-68 (35.3 percent) from the field, including 8-of-30 (26.7 percent) behind the three-point arc and were 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe. The 30 three-point attempts were a new season-high for a USU opponent.
Saturday was a game of runs, as the home Aggies went on a 7-0 spurt to open 16-6 lead but the visitors later countered with their own 11-0 streak to take a 21-20 lead on a Gibson layup with 8:23 left in the first half.
That would be NMSU's last lead of the night, as an old-fashioned three-point play from Wilkinson sparked a 7-0 USU run that Carroll capped with a jumper to make the scoreboard read 27-21 with 6:39 on the first stanza clock. The navy Aggies extended their lead to 35-25 at intermission, as USU improved to 11-2 when leading at the half and NMSU fell to 0-7 when trailing at the break.
The visiting Aggies whittled the deficit and tied the score at 46-all with 11:12 on the clock after a dunk by Martin Iti.
That's when junior guard Desmond Stephens (Bloomington, Ind.) took over, hitting a three-pointer from the left wing at the 10:36 mark. On USU's ensuing possession, Carroll drained a trey from almost the same spot as Stephens' and junior guard DeUndrae Spraggins (East St. Louis, Ill.) joined in the three-point H-O-R-S-E contest from the same spot off an assist from Stephens.
A pair of Wesley free throws and another Stephens trey, this time from the top of the arc, sandwiched around a McKines layup gave the home Aggies their largest lead of the night at 60-48 with 7:01 left.
As they had done all night up to that point, the visiting Aggies charged back with 12 unanswered points to knot the score at 60's with 4:49 on the clock after back-to-back three's from Gibson followed by a Peete trey.
Leading 62-61 with 4:17 remaining, USU closed out the game with a 12-1 run, started with a DuCharme jumper and ended by a Wilkinson layup for the victory.
Utah State continues its current homestand by hosting Boise State on Thursday, Jan. 17 and Idaho on Saturday, Jan. 19, with both games tipping off at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Idaho game on Saturday will be broadcast on KJZZ (Comcast Ch. 14 in Cache Valley), while both games will be available on the internet through UtahState.tv.
USU basketball games are broadcast on KVNU (610 AM) and KLZX (95.9 FM) in Logan, Utah, KFAN (1320 AM) or ESPN Radio (1230 AM) in Salt Lake City and KLZX (105.3 FM) in Montpelier, Idaho, as well as on the internet at www.UtahStateAggies.com through Yahoo! Sports. Al Lewis serves as the play-by-play announcer.
For Utah State basketball ticket information, fans can go to www.UtahStateAggies.com and click on "tickets" or call the USU Ticket Office at 1-800-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305.
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