March 5, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State men's basketball honored its five seniors before the game Wednesday on Senior Night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, then went out and got scoring, rebounding and key plays from all of them on the way to a 65-54 win over Wyoming in the Aggies' regular-season finale.
With the win, USU finishes regular-season play with a 17-13 overall record and a 7-11 Mountain West mark, winning its last two games. Wyoming suffered its fourth loss in a row in sliding to 17-13 overall and 8-9 in MW action entering Saturday's game at home against rival Colorado State. Wednesday was Utah State and Wyoming's first meeting in Logan since 2008, but was the 69th time, overall which is the seventh-most rivalry in school history. With Wednesday's win, the Aggies still trail in the all-time series, 45-24, just one of two Mountain West teams that Utah State has a losing record against, but USU has won four of the last seven meetings, including the last three in Logan, improving to 17-16 at home against UW.
The Aggies honored their five seniors, guard/forward Spencer Butterfield, forward Sean Harris, guard Preston Medlin, guard TeNale Roland and center Jarred Shaw, with a pre-game ceremony and all five started, with Harris making his first career start. It was a bizarre beginning to the game, without a stoppage in play for the first 9:46 of the game until USU finally called a timeout.
At halftime, Utah State Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes presented USU head coach Stew Morrill with a ceremonial ball commemorating his 600th career win, that the Aggies earned for him after their 75-58 spearing of the Spartans of San Jose State Saturday evening in San José, Calif. Morrill becomes the 14th active Division I head coach and the 41st overall head coach with 600 career wins, improving to 601-280 with Wednesday's win, in his 28th season as a head coach, including 383-142 in his 16th season at Utah State.
Shaw led USU with his eighth double-double of the season, registering 14 points and 10 rebounds, adding two blocked shots. Shaw's two blocked shots give him 61 in his career to rank 11th all-time in school history. Sophomore forward Kyle Davis also logged a double-double, his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Davis also tied his career-high with three blocked shots. Butterfield was one rebound shy of a double-double, ending with 12 points and nine rebounds, as well as tying a team and game-high with four assists. Butterfield was 2-of-4 from three-point range, giving him 115 for his career, needing two more to tie Pooh Williams (2008-11) for No. 10 on USU's career three-pointers list.
Roland was the fourth Aggie in double-figures with 10 points, matching Butterfield with four helpers. Medlin added seven points, four rebounds and two assists. Medlin was also 1-of-4 from three-point range giving him 210 career made three-pointers moving him ahead of Jay Goodman (1991-93) and into fourth-place all-time at USU.
Harris stuffed the stat sheet in his first start, making his first field goal as an Aggie on the way to tallying career-highs in points (4), rebounds (3), assists (2), steals (1) and minutes played (11).
USU had a dominating +20 (47-27) rebounding advantage, improving to 14-7 on the season when it out-rebounds its opponent. Overall, its 20-rebound advantage on the boards is tied for its third-most this year and the Aggies have now had a double-digit rebound advantage in 14 games this year. USU's 47 rebounds are also its third-most in a game this year.
Wyoming was led by Josh Adams with a game-high 21 points, adding four assists, while Nathan Sobey logged 14 points to go with nine rebounds. Derek Cooke, Jr., added eight rebounds and seven points.
The Aggies shot 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the field, making 20.8 percent (5-of-24) from three-point range, as well as making 58.3 percent (7-of-12) at the free throw line. The Cowboys made 38.7 percent (21-of-58) of their field goals, including 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) behind the arc and were 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) at the charity stripe.
Harris made his first field goal of the game and in an Aggie uniform at the 14:51 mark for an 11-5 USU lead. The end-to-end action continued without a whistle as Cooke hit a layup at 11:18 to make the score 13-11, and USU finally stopped the action with a timeout, with both teams getting some substitutions in. After USU took a 20-16 lead with 6:49 to go in the half on a free throw by sophomore guard Marcel Davis, Wyoming went on a 13-4 run for a 29-24 advantage with 55 seconds left on a three-point play by Jerron Granberry, before Medlin hit a pair of free throws with seven ticks remaining to pull USU within, 29-26 at halftime. Wednesday was just USU's second win when trailing at intermission.
Wyoming took a 36-28 lead at the 18:28 mark after a layup by Adams, but then the Aggies reeled off 10 unanswered points for a 38-36 advantage, staring with a two free pitches from Kyle Davis and Shaw capped the run with a layup with 14:30 remaining. Adams later countered with a three-point play to put the visitors ahead, 41-38, with 12:53 on the clock, but then USU scored the next six points, with Kyle Davis netting a free throw to start the streak, the Roland drained a trey and Shaw hit a layup for a 44-41 Aggie advantage at the 10:01 mark, and USU didn't trail again.
Adams closed the Cowboys to within two at 50-48 with a three-pointer with the clock at 5:19, but the Aggies went on a 13-2 run, starting with a Butterfield trey and capped by a pair of Roland free throws for a 63-50 lead at the 1:05 mark and closed out the game to close out regular-season play with a victory.
Utah State will return to action at the 2014 Reece's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., on Wednesday, March 12. The Aggies' game time and opponent will be announced following the completion of the MW regular-season on Saturday night. Fans can stay tuned to www.UtahStateAggies.com for further information.
For Utah State men's basketball ticket information for the Reece's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championships, 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, or in person during regular hours of operation at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
USU'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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