Feb. 25, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE - Utah State had No. 25/RV New Mexico on the ropes and on the verge of the possible upset, but the Lobos bounced back with a late run to overtake the Aggies, 67-58, Tuesday night in a hard fought Mountain West men's basketball battle at The Pit/Bob King Court.
USU falls to 15-13 overall and 5-11 in Mountain West action. New Mexico, ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and second among receiving votes in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll, won its fourth game in a row as well as fifth-straight home game in improving to 22-5 overall and 13-2 in MW play. The Lobos have won 10 of their last 11 games overall.
Utah State and New Mexico met in Albuquerque for the first time since any of the players involved in Tuesday's game were born, as the last time the Aggies and Lobos tangled on the hardwood in The Duke City was Dec. 29, 1979 in Albuquerque, winning, 117-83. New Mexico swept this season's series with USU for a two-game win streak after the Aggies had won the previous four games in the series, as USU still has won 12 of the last 15 meetings and now lead the all-time series, 19-6 overall, including 9-5 at Albuquerque.
USU shot 22-of-58 (37.9 percent) from the field Tuesday night, including 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) behind the three-point arc, along with making half (6-of-12) of its free throws.
UNM made 43.9 percent (25-of-57) of its field goals, netting an identical 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from three-point range in each half to finish the night at 6-of-16 (37.5 percent). The Lobos were also 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) at the charity stripe.
Senior guard Preston Medlin netted 19 points, hitting 4-of-5 from three-point land, and dished out a team-high and game-high tying five assists. Sophomore forward Kyle Davis notched nine points, while senior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield logged eight points and a team-leading eight rebounds, as USU was out-rebounded, 46-30.
The Aggies had just seven turnovers Tuesday, for their second game in a row with single-digit miscues after a season-low six vs. Fresno State on Feb. 22. It is the 12th game this season that USU had single-digit turnovers. Tuesday's game saw 10 lead changes and four ties.
The Lobos were led by four players in double-digits, including two with double-doubles led by Cameron Bairstow's 14 points and 11 rebounds, with Alex Kirk logging 13 points and 12 rebounds. Cullen Neal netted 12 points off the bench, while Kendall Williams added 10 points. Kirk added the game-high tying five assists along with four blocks.
USU took a 10-7 lead after a layup by junior center Jordan Stone, before UNM went on a 12-2 run, including a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Kirk jumper with 8:54 on the clock for a 19-12 lead. Utah State countered with an 11-0 streak, starting with a Davis free throw and capped by a Medlin jumper at the 3:26 mark for a 25-21 Aggie advantage. USU took a 27-26 lead into halftime.
The Aggies opened up a 41-34 lead after a Butterfield putback with 14:28 to play. Freshman guard Viko Noma'aea netted a three-pointer from the left wing to give USU a 50-48 lead at the 7:58 point of the second half, and Davis later gave the visitors a 52-50 lead at 6:54. However, the Aggies went scoreless over the next 3:34, while the Lobos reeled off a 12-0 spurt to open a 62-52 gap before freshman guard JoJo McGlaston drained a trey to pull USU within, 62-55, with 3:20 to play, but that would be the closest the Aggies would get as the Lobos kept the visitors at bay for the win.
USU plays its final road game of the regular-season at San José State on Saturday, March 1 at 6 p.m. (MT), in another nationally televised game, on ROOT Sports. The Aggies then return home to host Wyoming on Wednesday, March 5 at 8 p.m. in USU's regular-season and home finale. The Aggies will be honoring their five seniors: Spencer Butterfield, Sean Harris, Preston Medlin, TeNale Roland and Jarred Shaw.
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.
Utah State's Big Blue Scholarship Fund's Aggie Basketball Coaches Luncheon in Salt Lake City has been moved from Monday, March 3 to Friday, March 7. The luncheon, featuring USU head coach Stew Morrill, will begin at Noon and end at 1 p.m.
This is the final luncheon in Salt Lake City this season. The luncheon will be held at the Hampton Inn Downtown (425 S 300 W). Cost for the Wasatch Front Luncheon is $15 for Big Blue Scholarship Fund members and $18 for non-members.
For more information contact the Big Blue Scholarship Fund at (435) 797-2583.
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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