Men's Basketball's 26-Game Winning Streak In The Big West Ends At UC Irvine
Jan. 31, 2001
IRVINE, Calif. - For the first time in 23 months, Utah State's men's basketball team lost a game in the Big West Conference as the Aggies lost here tonight in front of a record crowd to UC Irvine by a final score of 56-51. Utah State had won 26 games in a row in the Big West, including 12 in a row on the season before the lose tonight. USU is now 18-3 on the season and 7-1 in league play, while the Anteaters improved to 16-2 overall and 8-0 in the conference.
"There is a reason they (UC Irvine) are 16-2 on the year," commented USU head coach Stew Morrill. "They made some big plays in the second-half, and Jerry Green may be the premier play in the league. We had a hard time scoring tonight and give Irvine a lot of credit, they did a nice job defensively."
Utah State asserted itself early in the game, jumping out to an 11-3 lead behind some outstanding defense and three early blocks from Shawn Daniels. UC Irvine responded with seven straight points to close the Aggie lead to one-point. The remainder of first-half was back-and-forth as neither team could to build a substantial lead. The Aggies survived early foul trouble in the first-half as Daniels, Dimitri Jorssen, and Jeremy Vague all picked up three fouls in the opening period and went into the locker room down two at 28-26.
After Irvine scored the first two points of the second-half to go up four, Utah State took control of the game with a 9-0 run to take a five-point lead. The Anteaters continued to fight back and eventually tied the game at 46 with just over eight minutes remaining. USU then regained the lead for the next five minutes before its cold shooting final caught up with the Aggies. Over the final five minutes of the game, the Aggies shot just four-of-16 from the field and Irvine capitilized by scoring the final seven points of the game as USU went scoreless over the final 3:29.
Daniels led Utah State with 15 points and four blocks to go along with five rebounds. Jerry Green paced UC Irvine with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Utah State shot a season-low 34.7 percent from the field in the game, including 14.3 percent (2-of-14) from three-point range.
Utah State will return to action on Friday, Feb. 2, when the Aggies play at Cal State Fullerton.