Feb. 6, 2010
LOGAN, Utah - A second-straight game on national television meant a second-straight victory for Utah State, using an 8-0 run late in the first half to beat Nevada, 76-65, Saturday night at a sold-out raucous Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, seen on ESPNU. With the win, the Aggies sweep the season-series with the Wolf Pack for the first time in USU's five seasons as fellow Western Athletic Conference foes.
Saturday's win was Utah State's eighth in a row and 12th in the last 14 games, moving to 18-6 overall and 8-2 in WAC play, taking a half-game lead over Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State atop the league standings. Nevada suffered its second-straight road loss, falling to 13-9 overall and 5-4 in league play, going 3-3 in its last six games.
The Aggies have won three-straight and seven of the last nine over the Wolf Pack and now lead the all-time series, 30-12. USU also improved to 15-2 against Nevada in Logan, winning the last four meetings.
Junior forward Tai Wesley netted 19 points, while junior guard Pooh Williams chipped in with 16 points, one shy of his season and career-high. Sophomore forward Brady Jardine came off the bench to post 13 points, his third double-digit scoring outing in the last four games and fourth in the last six contests.
Senior guard Jared Quayle netted 12 points and tied a game-high with nine rebounds as he shared top rebounding honors with Wesley and Nevada's Luke Babbitt, who led all scorers with 20 points before fouling out.
Armon Johnson netted 14 points in the first half for Nevada, but was held scoreless in the second half until 5:55 was left in the game, finishing the night with 19 points to go with his team-leading five assists. Joey Shaw added 14 points for the Wolf Pack, who played only seven players.
Nevada entered the game leading the WAC in scoring at 81 points per game, but the Utah State defense held the Wolf Pack in check, holding them 16 points below their average, and scoring their second-fewest points on the season.
USU attempted a season-high 68 shots, shooting 27-of-68 (39.7 percent), just the third time this season that the Aggies shot under 40 percent and the first time to win when doing so. Utah State also set a new season-high with 21 offensive rebounds in tying a season-best with 43 total rebounds.
The Aggies' efforts on the offensive glass was rewarded with a 20-11 second-chance points advantage, going with a 14-4 points off turnovers edge. The USU bench out-scored its counterparts, 16-3, including 9-0 in the second half and improving to 15-3 when the Aggie reserves score more than the opposition's.
Utah State was also 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) from three-point range and 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) at the free throw line. Nevada shot 26-of-59 (44.1 percent) from the field, hitting 6-of-20 (30.0 percent) behind the arc and 7-of-8 at the charity stripe.
Utah State made more free throws than its opponent attempted for the eighth time this year, moving to 8-0 when doing so.
The Aggies also committed a season-low four turnovers, while Nevada only committed seven miscues. The Wolf Pack added nine blocked shots, getting three each from Babbitt and Dario Hunt, while the Aggies had three swats, two by Williams and one by Jardine.
Utah State took an 11-6 lead at the 15:30 mark on a Quayle three-pointer from the top of the arc, before Nevada charged back to take a 16-14 lead on a Johnson layup with 13:11 on the clock.
The Wolf Pack later led 33-31 with 5:22 to go after another layup from Johnson, but that would be their last lead of the night, as Williams netted a three-pointer to start an 8-0 Aggie run, giving USU the lead for good at 34-33 with 3:47 left in the half. That was also the ninth and final lead change of the half and the game in addition to a total of nine ties, all in the first 20 minutes of action.
After another Williams trey, Wesley hit a jumper to cap the streak and put USU ahead 39-33 with 1:29 remaining. Babbitt hit a jumper with 1:05 left before Johnson's three-pointer at the halftime buzzer rattled in-and-out, leaving USU with a 39-35 halftime lead.
The Aggie advantage grew to 58-44 with 8:47 to go on a Jardine putback, capping a run of 10-2 by USU, which had scored 17 of the game's last 23 points.
The Wolf Pack got within 69-62 with 1:06 to go after a three-pointer by Shaw from the corner, but couldn't get any closer as the Aggies sandwiched five-of-six free throws around a Williams dunk in the waning seconds to secure the victory.
Utah State hits the road for two games, heading to Boise State on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. (MT) and San Jose State on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. (MT).
The Aggies return home to host Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in a 9 p.m. (MT) tip and then welcoming Wichita State to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 10 p.m. (MT) in the ESPNU BracketBuster game. Both the Louisiana Tech and Wichita State games will be nationally-televised on ESPN2.
For Utah State men's basketball ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the "buy/renew tickets" under the "tickets" drop down menu.
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