Feb. 15, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State men's basketball three-game win streak was snapped with a 73-62 loss to UNLV Saturday afternoon at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies are now 15-10 overall and 5-8 in Mountain West action after having their three-game win streak stopped. The Runnin' Rebels won for the second game in a row and sixth time in last seven games in improving to 17-8 overall and 8-4 in MW play. Saturday was UNLV's first visit to Logan since March 2, 1996, and the Runnin' Rebels now lead the all-time series, 29-3, including 14-2 in Logan.
USU senior center Jarred Shaw registered his third double-double in the last four games and sixth this season with a team-high 20 points to go with a game-high tying 12 rebounds. It was his fourth 20-point game this season and eighth of his career. Shaw also tied a career-high with three assists. Fellow senior, guard TeNale Roland tallied 12 points, posting double-digits for just the third time this season. Senior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield added 11 points and six rebounds, while senior guard Preston Medlin adding six points and dished out a team-high five assists.
Saturday was Medlin's 100th career game, becoming the 26th player in Aggie history to play in 100 career games. Medlin now has 1,299 career points, needing one more to become the 16th player in USU history with 1,300 career points.
UNLV was led by Khem Birch's near triple-double with 11 points, a game-high tying 12 rebounds and a game-high nine blocked shots. Kevin OIekaibe netted a game-high 21 points, hitting four three-pointers, while Bryce Dejean-Jones added 17 points. Deville Smith dished out a game-high eight assists.
Utah State shot 33.8 percent (23-of-68) from the field, including 33.3 percent (6-of-18) from three-point range, as well as 83.3 percent (10-of-12) at the free throw line. Saturday was USU's second-straight game and fifth in last eight games making 80.0 percent or better at the charity stripe.
UNLV scorched the nets to the tune of 69.2 percent (18-of-26) from the field in the second half, finishing at a USU opponent season-high 56.6 percent (30-of-53). The Runnin' Rebels ended at 27.8 percent (5-of-18) behind the arc, making 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) after halftime following making 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) in the first 20 minutes. UNLV was also 61.5 percent (8-of-13) at the free throw line.
Utah State tied a season-low with seven turnovers, and also had a 41-31 rebounding advantage, for its 12th double-digit rebounding advantage this season. It was also the ninth game this season that USU has grabbed at least 40 rebounds.
The Aggies opened with a 9-6 lead after a three-point play by Roland with 12:52 on the clock, but UNLV rallied to take a 20-17 lead after a Birch bucket at 7:54. USU then scored the game's next seven points, with junior center Jordan Stone scoring on a putback to start the spurt. Stone then had a block on the defensive end and dished the ball down court to Medlin, who jammed it home for his first dunk of the season. Butterfield capped the 7-0 steak with a three-pointer at the 6:00 mark for a 24-20 Aggie advantage, prompting a Runnin' Rebel timeout. Medlin later hit 1-of-2 free throws for the first of two USU five-point leads at 27-22 with 2:50 to go in the half, but UNLV cut the gap to 31-29 at halftime. With the loss, USU is now 14-2 on the season when leading at the half.
The Runnin' Rebels stormed out of intermission, making their first six shots, including a pair of three-pointers by Olekaibe, for a 43-36 lead at the 15:57 mark. However, the Aggies scored nine of the next 11 points to knot the score at 45-all with 12:23 to play after a three-pointer from freshman forward Jalen Moore. The visitors scored the next four points before a three-point play by Butterfield pulled USU within 49-48. That would be the closest the Aggies would get, as the Runnin' Rebels went on a 12-3 run, capped by a Dejean-Jones jumper and a 61-51 lead at the 6:10 mark. USU sliced the deficit to 63-58 after a Butterfield trey, but UNLV countered with a 9-0 run, topped by a pair of Birch free throws, to open a 72-58 lead with 1:06 left to seal the win.
USU plays at nationally-ranked San Diego State on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. The battle between the Aggies and Aztecs tips off at 9:05 p.m. (MT). SDSU was No. 5 in the country in this week's Top 25 polls, but suffered their first MW loss of the season with a 68-62 loss at Wyoming on Tuesday, sliding to 21-2 overall and 10-1 in league play.
The Aggies return home to host Fresno State on Saturday, Feb. 22 in a 7 p.m. (MT) tipoff at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
For Utah State men's basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
The NCAA has launched the NCAA 6th Fan contest, an exciting nationwide online competition that will determine which Division I school has the most school pride and supportive fans. Utah State fans can learn all the details at www.ncaa.com/6thfan, including how to win great fan prizes and how to help Utah State be awarded over $100,000 in general scholarship contributions.
Utah State fans can vote at www.ncaa.com/6thFan by casting votes directly, or votes can be submitted through ncaa.com to Facebook and Twitter. Fans also can vote directly on Twitter by Tweeting or Retweeting the #6thFan hashtag and Utah State's hashtag: #UTST.
USU has also been nominated as one of the top college basketball student sections in the country and is now asking for fan support in helping it win the prestigious title. Aggie fans can have a say in determining the most deserving student section by voting for the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award daily via social media platforms.
There are three ways fans can vote. There is a direct link to a poll at www.mystudentsectionrocks.com. Fans can also go on facebook at www.facebook.com/collegecolors or vote on twitter using the hashtag: #RockUSUColors.
Fans can follow the Aggie men's basketball program at twitter.com/AggieHoops. USU fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.
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