Aggies Clinch Share Of WAC Title With 76-39 Blasting Of Bulldogs Monday
March 1, 2010
LOGAN, Utah - A 22-0 run to open the game paved the way for Utah State's 76-39 blasting of the Bulldogs from Fresno State Monday in men's basketball action at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as USU won a share of its third-straight Western Athletic Conference regular season title. Monday was also the Aggies' 14th straight victory.
USU's winning streak is its longest of the season and the second-longest in the country behind Butler's 18 in a row. It is also the fourth-longest in school history. The Aggies have also won 18 of their last 20 games to improve to 24-6 overall and 13-2 in WAC play.
Fresno State, which didn't make a field goal until the 10:09 mark of the first half after missing its first 11 attempts, lost for the second game in a row and fifth in the last six outings in dropping to 14-17 overall and 6-9 in league action.
Utah State improves to 28-19 against Fresno State after the Aggies swept the season series and won their seventh in a row over the Bulldogs, who were the last WAC team to beat USU at home, back on March 3, 2007, almost two years exactly and 23 WAC home wins ago. USU has won 13 consecutive home games in a row on the season and 65 of its last 67.
The Aggies won their third-straight WAC regular season championship and can win the conference crown outright if New Mexico State loses at Nevada Thursday night, or a victory over NMSU Saturday night if the maroon-clad Aggies win Thursday.
It was Utah State's sixth victory by 30 or more points and second WAC win by such margin behind a 98-54 rout of Hawai'i on Jan. 11. The 39 points allowed are the fewest yielded by the Aggie defense this season and the lowest since a 50-37 win at Louisiana Tech last season.
The USU defense held its opponent under 60 points for the 14th time this season, improving to 13-1 when doing so including winning the last seven times. The Aggie offense topped the 70-point plateau for the 18th time this season, moving to 18-0 when doing so and have won 22 straight games when lighting up the scoreboard for at least 70 points.
Four USU players netted double-digits Monday, led by junior forward Tai Wesley's 21 points, his second 20-point game this season and his highest in a WAC game, only trailing his season-best 22-point outing at Long Beach State on Dec. 18.
Junior guard Tyler Newbold hit all four of his three-pointers for 12 points on the night, while fellow junior guard Brian Green netted three of his five treys, all in the first half and all nothing-but-net, to finish with 11 points. Junior forward Nate Bendall added 10 points and pulled down six rebounds, while Wesley snared seven boards, helping USU to a 38-33 rebounding edge, as the Aggies improved to 20-6 when out-rebounding the opposition.
Utah State, which entered the game leading the country in three-point shooting, scorched the nets to the tune of 6-of-8 (75.0 percent) in the first half before cooling off to end the game at 8-of-16 (50.0 percent). The Aggies were 31-of-56 (55.4 percent) from the field as well as 6-of-10 (60.0 percent) at the free throw line.
Senior guard Jared Quayle filled the stat sheet with game-highs of eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals while netting five points. The eight assists tied his career-high, as USU improved to 12-1 when this season when Quayle has at least five helpers in the contest.
Fresno State got 12 points apiece from Paul George and Mike Ladd while George pulled down seven rebounds. FS ended the night a chilly 12-of-54 (22.2 percent) field goal shooting, making just 2-of-20 (10.0 percent) behind the three-point arc. The Bulldogs made more free throws than they did field goals, finishing at 13-of-15 (86.7 percent) at the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs were a paltry 4-of-22 (18.2 percent) from the field, including 0-of-7 from three-point range, in the first half as the Aggies had a 40-14 lead at intermission, with the USU bench out-scored the FS team 15-14 in the opening stanza. Utah State had leads of 28-3 and 31-5 in the first half as well as its largest of the opening 20 minutes at 40-12.
A Wesley dunk put USU ahead 44-16 before Sylvester Seay hit a three-pointer from the top of the arc to pull the Bulldogs within 44-19 at the 18:14 mark. That would be the closest they would get the rest of the night as with 17:40 on the clock, Newbold hit a trey from the right wing to spark an 18-0 USU run over almost the next nine minutes.
Sophomore forward Brady Jardine hit a layup, part of his eight points in the game, for a 62-19 Aggie advantage with 11:08 to go, giving USU its largest lead of the night at 43 points. FS finally ended the spurt with two free throws by George with 9:32 left. The Bulldogs later reeled off 10 unanswered points on the Aggie reserves to trim the gap to 64-31 on a Seay tip-in with 5:43 on the clock, but couldn't get any closer. Sophomore forward Modou Niang capped the Aggie scoring on a dunk with 33 seconds left.
USU forced 16 FS turnovers, including 11 in the first half as the Aggies had a 12-0 points off turnovers edge, ending at 14-4 for the game. The Utah State reserves ended with a 27-7 bench points advantage and USU had a decisive 40-12 points in the paint edge as well.
The Aggies dished out 25 assists, one shy of their season-high, but their most in a WAC game and the ninth 20-plus helper outing, as Quayle's eight dimes were joined by five from Wesley and four from Newbold as USU improved to 9-0 when distributing at least 20 assists.
Utah State hosts New Mexico State on Saturday, March 6, at 7 p.m. in the Aggies' home and regular-season finale. It was also be "Senior Night" as USU will honor Quayle, the lone Aggie senior.
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.