March 13, 2010
RENO, Nev. - Senior guard Jared Quayle scored 16 points to lead Utah State to an easy 85-55 win against Louisiana Tech in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament held here Friday in the Lawlor Events Center.
Utah State, who extended its winning streak to 17-straight games, improves to 27-6 on the season and 13-3 all-time in the WAC Tournament with the win. USU will now play in the championship game of its conference tournament for the ninth time in the last 11 years, including the fourth time in its five years in the WAC.
Brady Jardine added 13 points and five rebounds off the bench for Utah State as the sophomore forward was 5-of-5 from the field and 3-of-4 at the free throw line. Junior guard Pooh Williams was the third Aggie in double-figures as he finished the game with 10 points. USU also had three players score nine points each in junior forward Nate Bendall, junior guard Brian Green and sophomore guard Jaxon Myaer, who tied his season high.
Quayle, who added five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in the game, was 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point range. Junior forward Tai Wesley scored eight points to go along with a season-high tying six assists and five rebounds, while junior guard Tyler Newbold had seven points, four rebounds and four assists with no turnovers.
Olu Ashaolu, Kyle Gibson and David Jackson all scored 10 points each for Louisiana Tech who fell to 23-10 on the season with the loss. LTU's second-leading scorer Magnum Rolle, played just three minutes before spraining his ankle.
Louisiana Tech scored the first points of the game on a pair of free throws by Jamel Guyton for its only lead of the game as Utah State turned a 7-6 advantage into a 15-6 lead with 12:25 to play in the half. USU took its first double-digit lead at 22-11 following a jumper from Jardine and the top-seed later used a 12-2 run to make the score 36-17 with 4:58 to go in the half following a Quayle trey. A pair of Quayle free throws gave USU its first 20-point lead at 38-18 and the Aggies took a 46-24 lead into the locker room
Utah State shot 65.5 percent from the field (19-29) in the first-half, including 50.0 percent from three-point range (5-10) and 75.0 percent at the free throw line (3-4) as Jardine and Quayle both had 10 points at the break. Louisiana Tech shot just 29.6 percent in the first-half (8-27) and just 14.3 percent from behind the arc (1-7), but did make 7-of-8 (.875) free throws.
Louisiana Tech's DeAndre Brown hit a three-pointer to start the second half and cut USU's lead to 19, but that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get as the Aggies led by as many as 32 points on two separate occasions before coasting to the 30-point win.
Utah State finished the game by shooting a blistering 58.8 percent from the field (30-51), 52.6 percent from three-point range (10-19) and 75.0 percent at the free throw line (15-20). LTU shot just 34.5 percent overall (20-58), including just 25.0 percent from three-point range (5-20). Louisiana Tech was 10-of-14 (.714) at the free throw line.
Utah State also dominated the glass and had a 39-26 advantage on the boards, to go along with 22 assists and just 10 turnovers. LTU finished the game with just seven assists.
Utah State will face third-seeded New Mexico State in the championship game on Saturday, Mar. 13 at 8 p.m. (MT), in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2. NMSU defeated host Nevada, 80-79, in the day's second semifinal game.
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