Feb. 21, 2009
MORAGA, Calif. - Junior guard Jared Quayle scored a team-high 22 points and senior forward Gary Wilkinson added 16 points in No. 23 Utah State's 75-64 loss here to Saint Mary's in the seventh annual ESPNU BracketBusters.
Utah State, who is now 3-1 all-time in BracketBuster games, falls to 25-3 on the season with the loss. Saint Mary's improves to 22-5 with the win.
Mickey McConnell had 22 points to lead Saint Mary's, while Omar Samhan finished the game with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Diamon Simpson also scored in double-figures for the Gaels as he had 18 points and seven boards.
Leading by nine at the break, Saint Mary's scored seven of the first nine points of the second-half to build its biggest lead of the game at 45-31. In all, the Gaels had a 16-5 run during an eight-minute stretch to end the first-half and begin the second.
Utah State battled back to within five points at 58-53 on a three-pointer from sophomore guard Pooh Williams with 5:06 to play, but Saint Mary's scored four straight points to increase its advantage to nine. Quayle then scored six quick points for the Aggies on a deep three-pointer from the top of the key followed by an old-fashioned three-point play to get USU back to within three at 62-59 with 2:06 to play. However, the Gaels made 8-of-10 free throws in the final 1:39 to notch the 11-point win. In all, Quayle scored the Aggies final 11 points of the game.
Utah State finished the game by shooting 46.2 percent overall (24-52), including 40.0 percent from three-point range (4-10). Saint Mary's shot 51.9 percent from the field (27-52) and 28.6 percent from behind the arc (4-14). The Gaels were also 17-of-26 (.654) from the free throw line as compared to 12-of-15 (.800) for USU. SMC also out-rebounded USU, 35-26.
Saint Mary's broke open a close game in the final 3:37 of the first-half as it used a 9-3 run to take a 38-29 lead into the locker room. SMC shot 50.0 percent (16-32) in the first-half, while Utah State shot 47.8 percent (11-23). The Gaels also dominated the glass in the first-half as it out-rebounded USU, 18-13, including eight offensive boards. Wilkinson paced Utah State with eight first-half points, while McConnell had 11 for Saint Mary's.
Utah State will return to Western Athletic Conference action and host Hawai'i in its next game on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m., in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
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