Feb. 11, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Wendell McKines had 20 points and nine rebounds and New Mexico State used a 15-3 run over the final 4:07 of the game in posting an 80-69 road win at Utah State Saturday afternoon in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.
New Mexico State improves to 18-8 on the season and 7-3 in Western Athletic Conference action with the win, while Utah State falls to 13-13 overall and 5-6 in league play with the loss. For USU, it was its third home loss of the season marking the first time since the 1995-96 campaign that an Aggie team has lost three or more home games.
Sophomore guard Preston Medlin led four Utah State players in double-figures with 16 points, while sophomore guard/forward Danny Berger scored a career-high 14 points. Junior forward Kyisean Reed added 11 points, while senior forward Morgan Grim finished with 10 points, four rebounds and a career-high four assists.
Utah State took its only lead of the second-half at 66-65 with 6:00 remaining following a free throw from Reed. From there, New Mexico State controlled the game as Utah State went 0-of-4 from the field and committed four turnovers down the stretch.
Utah State finished the game shooting 50.0 percent from both the field (26-52) and three-point line (10-20), but was just 7-of-13 (.538) from the free throw line. New Mexico State shot a blistering 55.6 percent from the field (30-54) and 63.6 percent from three-point range (7-11), both season-highs for a USU opponent. NMSU was also 13-of-21 (.619) from the charity stripe.
Utah State also got out-rebounded for the first time in five games (34-21) as its 21 rebounds were a season-low. USU did have 20 assists, its third-most in a game this year. Both teams finished with 10 turnovers and four blocked shots.
After three ties and four lead changes early on, New Mexico State broke a 12-12 tie to lead 23-17 with 9:58 to play in the half. Utah State then scored 12 straight points to take its largest lead of the game at 29-23 with 7:00 remaining in the half and later led 33-27 before NMSU finished the first-half on an 11-0 run as USU did not score for the final 4:53.
Berger led Utah State with 10 first-half points, while Medlin and sophomore forward Mitch Bruneel each scored six.
New Mexico State scored the first four points of the second-half to lead 42-33 and the visitors later held a 47-40 advantage before Utah State went on an 8-2 run to get within one. NMSU maintained a small advantage over the next eight minutes before USU scored four-straight points on a pair of Medlin hoops to knot the score at 65-65 with 6:44 remaining.
Utah State steps out of conference for a pair of home games next week as it hosts Montana Tech, an NAIA school out of the Frontier Conference, on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 pm., followed by an ESPNU BracketBuster game against former Big West Conference foe UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. The game against the Gauchos will be televised live on KMYU TV.
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