Feb. 8, 2008
FRESNO, Calif. - Senior guards Jaycee Carroll and Kris Clark combined to score 38 points as Utah State held on for a hard-fought 77-72 road win against Fresno State here at the Save Mart Center Thursday night. Carroll finished the game with 22 points and Clark had a career-high 16 as the duo was 13-of-22 from the field and 7-of-11 from three-point range.
Utah State, who remains in first-place in the Western Athletic Conference with the win, improves to 17-6 on the season and 7-1 in league play, while Fresno State falls to 11-13 overall and 4-6 in the conference with the loss. USU has now won 12 of its last 13 games overall, including three of its last four on the road.
Carroll added nine rebounds as he played the entire game, while Clark recorded a season-high five boards to go along with five assists. Junior forward Gary Wilkinson extended his double-figure scoring streak to seven consecutive games with 16 points, including 10 in the second-half, and freshman forward Tai Wesley added eight points, four rebounds and four assists.
Fresno State was led by senior forward Hector Hernandez's 22 points and 13 rebounds, while senior guards Kevin Bell and Eddie Miller each scored 20 points, including 29 after intermission.
After leading by 14 at the break, Utah State extended its margin to 17 on a three-pointer from Carroll with 17:43 to play and led 55-39 with 13:18 remaining before Fresno State went on an 11-2 run to get with 57-50. The Bulldogs continued to close the gap and trailed 65-60 with just over five minutes to go on a three-pointer by Miller. USU then scored five straight points on a jumper by Carroll and a three-pointer by Wilkinson to increase its margin back to 10 with 2:43 left. FSU then scored seven straight points to get within 73-70 with 1:10 to play and had the ball with a chance to tie but a three-pointer from the left-wing by Miller was off the mark. The Aggies then finished the game by scoring four of the final six points and held on for the five-point win.
For the game, Utah State shot a blistering 58.3 percent from the field (28-48), including 57.1 percent shooting from three-point range (8-14). Fresno State finished the contest by shooting 45.5 percent from the field (25-55), including making 58.6 percent of its shots in the second-half (17-29). In that second period the Bulldogs converted 10-of-14 (.714) three-pointers and ended up shooting 50.0 percent (11-22) from behind the arc after making just 1-of-8 three's in the opening period.
Utah State, who never trailed in the game, opened an early 10-point lead at the 12:59 mark of the first-half on a jumper by Tyler Newbold to give the visitors a 17-7 advantage. USU's led grew to 17 on a three-pointer by Carroll to make the score 33-16 with 6:13 to play and the Aggies went into the locker room up 14 at 39-25.
Utah State shot 55.2 percent from the field (16-29) and 50.0 percent from three-point range (4-8) in the first-half, while Fresno State was just 8-of-26 (.308) overall. Carroll and Clark both scored in double-figures in the opening half with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Utah State will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 9 when it hosts San Jose State (10-12, 2-7) at 7 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
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