Aggies Shuck Shockers Saturday In 68-58 BracketBuster Victory
Feb. 20, 2010
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's defense held Wichita State without a field goal for 8:25 in the first half, going on a 10-0 run over that time, as the Aggies beat the Shockers, 68-58, Saturday night in an ESPN BracketBusters battle at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Playing in front of a national television audience for the seventh and final time of the regular-season, USU won for the sixth time in the seven national appearances and for the 28th time in the last 36 ESPN televised Utah State games.
USU stretched its longest win streak of the season to 12 in a row and 16th in the last 18 games overall in improving to 22-6 on the season. The 12-game victory charge is tied for the fifth-longest in school history, and is now tied with Kansas for the third-longest in the nation behind Butler and Murray State's nation-best 17-game victory spurt.
Utah State also improved to 4-1 in BracketBuster games, including 3-0 at home. Saturday was the Aggies' 64th win in their last 66 home games in improving to 84-5 at home against non-conference opponents.
Wichita State had its two-game win streak halted, as the Shockers have lost three of their last six games and are now 22-7 overall.
USU takes a 6-4 all-time lead over WSU, including 2-0 at home, as Saturday was the Shockers' first trip to Logan since 1967.
Three players posted double-figures for the Aggies, led by junior forwards Tai Wesley and Nate Bendall with a game-high 13 and 12 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Brady Jardine came off the bench to net 11 points, while pulling down seven rebounds.
Senior guard Jared Quayle snared a game-high nine rebounds while dishing out seven assists, as USU improved to 11-1 when he has five helpers or more. Quayle's game-leading assists were part of 22 dimes distributed by USU, the seventh time this season that the Aggies had 20 or more, improving to 7-0 when doing so.
Wichita State was led by JT Durley with 12 points and eight rebounds, while David Kyles came off the bench to post 11 points.
The Aggie defense held their opposition under 60 points for the 12th time this season, improving to 11-1 when doing so, winning their last five games. Utah State has won 84 of its last 86 games when keeping the opponent under 60 points. USU had a 33-28 rebounding advantage and dictated action in the paint with a 32-18 points in the paint edge.
Utah State shot 26-of-51 (51.0 percent) from the field, moving to 12-0 when netting at least half of its shots. The Aggies, who entered the game leading the nation in three-pointer percentage (42.6 percent) made exactly half (5-of-10) of their three-pointers Saturday night. USU also entered Saturday's game ranked fourth in the country in free throw percentage (77.4 percent) and were just shy of that, making 11-of-15 (73.3 percent).
Wichita State made 40.0 percent (22-of-55) of its field goals, netting 7-of-20 (35.0 percent) from behind the arc and the Shockers were 70.0 percent (7-of-10) at the charity stripe.
USU had five assists on its first five field goal in opening an 11-7 lead before WSU whittled back to tie it at 11-11, the game's third and final tie. Later a bucket by Durley made the scoreboard read 16-13 with 11:24 to go in the half. Utah State then went on its 10-0 run while Wichita State did not make a field goal over the next 8:25. Junior guard Brian Green hit a long jumper to start the streak and Bendall hit a layup to end the spurt, giving the Aggies their largest lead of the half at 26-13 before WSU's Graham Hatch hit a three-pointer from the left wing with 2:59 on the clock to halt the Shockers' skein.
Aggie junior guard Pooh Williams hit a runner at the halftime buzzer to give USU a 30-20 lead at the break, improving to 20-2 when leading at intermission.
Again WSU whittled the deficit down, cutting it to 30-26 in just over two minutes into the second stanza but a Jardine dunk sparked seven unanswered by USU to open a 37-26 lead at the 15:42 mark, capped by a Wesley layup. The Aggie advantage swelled to its largest of the night at 16 after a Williams free throw put USU ahead, 48-32 with 9:31 to play. A three-pointer by Kyles from the right wing later pulled Wichita State within 56-49 at the 3:50 mark, but that would be the closest the Shockers would get as Bendall hit a baseline jumper to regain momentum and USU kept WSU at bay down the stretch for the victory.
Utah State resumes Western Athletic Conference action with its final regular-season road trip of the ledger, heading to Honolulu on Thursday, Feb. 25 to take on Hawai'i in a 10 p.m. (MT) start.
The Aggies then return to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum for their final two games of the regular-season, hosting Fresno State on Monday, March 1 and New Mexico State on Saturday, March 6, both in 7 p.m. (MT) starts.
For Utah State men's basketball ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the "buy/renew tickets" under the "tickets" drop down menu.