Feb. 19, 2011
MORAGA, Calif. - Senior forward Tai Wesley had 22 points and 11 rebounds and junior guard Brockeith Pane also scored 22 points to lead No. 24/25 Utah State to a come-from-behind 75-65 win against No. 23 Saint Mary's here Saturday night in a ESPNU BracketBuster game that was nationally televised on ESPN2.
Utah State, who had lost its previous two games to Saint Mary's, improves to 25-3 on the season and the Gaels fall to 22-6 after suffering its second-straight loss.
Wesley had 17 points and six rebounds in the second-half as he was 7-of-9 from the field during the final 20 minutes after converting just 1-of-6 first-half shots. Pane scored 14 points after halftime and finished the game shooting 5-of-7 from the field, 1-of-2 from three-point range and 11-of-14 at the free throw line. He also had four assists and a career-high four steals.
Mickey McConnell had 16 points to lead Saint Mary's, while Mitchell Young finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Trailing 39-29 with 18:04 to play, Utah State went on a 25-5 run during the next 10:02 to take a 54-44 lead following a pair of free throws from Pane. During its run, Pane and Wesley combined for 20 of the team's 25 points as Wesley had 12 and Pane eight. USU increased its lead to 12 at 65-53 with 3:23 to play following a steal from Pane and dunk from senior forward Pooh Williams and the Aggies coasted from there for the 10-point win. During the final 9:20 of the game, the Gaels never got closer than seven points.
Utah State shot a blistering 55.6 percent from the field in the second half (15-27) and finished the game at 50.0 percent shooting (24-48). USU was also 25-of-32 (.781) from the free throw line for the game, including 17-of-21 (.810) after halftime. The Aggies were also 2-of-6 (.333) from three-point range overall.
Utah State out-rebounded Saint Mary's by four (33-29) and had four fewer turnovers (17-13) in the game.
Saint Mary's shot just 28.6 percent in the second half (8-28) and finished the game shooting 39.0 percent overall (23-59). The Gaels were also 9-of-22 (.409) from behind the arc and 10-of-13 (.769) at the charity stripe.
Utah State scored the first points of the game on an old fashion three-point play from freshman guard James Walker III. USU later took its largest lead of the half at 13-7 following a layup from Pane with 13:10 to play. The Aggies later led by six at 20-14 at the 10:44 mark before Saint Mary's scored seven straight points to lead, 21-20. USU then got a pair of free throws from Pane only to see the Gaels score 13 straight points over the next 6:04. The Aggies finished the half on a mini 5-2 run on three free throws from Wesley and a running jumper from senior guard Brian Green to cut the deficit to nine at 36-27 heading into halftime.
Pane led Utah State with eight first half points as the Aggies shot 42.9 percent from the field (9-21) and 72.7 percent at the free throw line (8-11). USU was also 1-of-2 (.500) from three-point range. Utah State had 10 turnovers in the first-half as compared to a five for the Gaels.
McConnell and Young each had eight points to lead Saint Mary's in the first 20 minutes as the Gaels shot 48.4 percent from the field (15-31) and 40.0 percent from three-point range (4-10). SMC was also 2-of-2 at the free throw line. The Gaels out-rebounded USU in the first-half, 16-13.
Utah State returns to Western Athletic Conference play next weekend as it hosts Idaho in its final home game of the season on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m., in a game that will be televised regionally on CW30. Prior to the game, USU will honor its six seniors.
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