March 13, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Eighth-seeded Utah State men's basketball had its 2014 Reese's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championships run come to an end with a 73-39 loss to top-seeded and eighth-ranked San Diego State Thursday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.
Utah State slides to 18-14 overall, including suffering its third loss of the season to SDSU. The Aztecs, who are ranked eighth in the AP Top 25 Poll and seventh in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, improved to 28-3 overall and advanced to Friday's semifinals against the winner of fourth-seeded UNLV and fifth-seeded Wyoming. Thursday was the first postseason meeting between USU and SDSU, while the second neutral court meeting, as the all-time series is now even at 3-3, with the Aztecs winning the last three.
USU was making its Mountain West Championships debut this week, as the Aggies are in their first season in the MW after eight years in the Western Athletic Conference. Utah State is now 39-28 all-time in conference tournaments, including a 16-17 record in quarterfinal games. Overall, Morrill is now 33-21 all-time in conference tournaments, including a 26-10 record at USU.
Senior center Jarred Shaw was the lone Aggie in double-digits with 14 points, while freshman forward Jalen Moore added five points. Senior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield and sophomore forward Kyle Davis shared team-high honors with five rebounds each. Davis also tied a career-high with three blocks.
USU got off to a slow start, missing its first nine shots on the way to a season-low 29.3 percent (12-of-41) field goal shooting. The Aggies also made a season-low one three-pointer, finishing a season-low 10.0 percent (1-of-10) from three-point range. USU was 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) at the free throw line. Utah State's 39 points are also a season-low and its fewest points in a game since scoring 33 points at UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 10, 1994.
SDSU was led by Xavier Thames with 15 points, netting four three-pointers, while also dishing out seven assists. Winston Shepard added 13 points, while Josh Davis tallied eight points to go with 13 rebounds, leading the Aztecs to a 35-27 rebounding advantage. San Diego State scorched the nets to the tune of 52.5 percent (31-of-59) from the field, making 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) of its three-pointers and 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) at the free throw line.
As USU was missing its first nine shots, SDSU jumped out to an 8-0 start. The Aggies scored back-to-back buckets to get within 8-4 after a bucket by Kyle Davis with 12:56 on the clock. The Aztecs took their first 10-point lead at 18-8 with 7:41 left in the half on a Josh Davis layup, and the top-seeded team took a 36-15 lead into halftime.
SDSU added to its lead in the second half and cruised to the win, as USU emptied its bench, getting every player in uniform into the game.
Complete tournament information for the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championships can be found at www.themw.com.
Utah State will now await its postseason fate, fans can stay tuned to www.UtahStateAggies.com for future information.
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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