March 19, 2010
SPOKANE, Wash. - A 10-0 first half run propelled fifth-seeded Texas A&M to a 69-53 win over 12th-seeded Utah State Friday in the first round of the NCAA South Regional at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Wash.
Utah State ends its season with a 27-8 record while Texas A&M, ranked No. 23 in the country, improves to 24-9 and advances to play fourth-seeded and 10th-ranked Purdue on Sunday.
Texas A&M had four players in double-figures, led by Khris Middleton's career-high 19 points. David Loubeau added 14 points while B.J. Holmes and Donald Sloan tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively.
TAMU had a 39-31 rebounding advantage, led by Bryan Davis' nine boards while USU was led by six rebounds each from Wesley and junior forward Nate Bendall. Utah State shot 24-of-62 (38.7 percent) from the field, hitting 5-of-25 (25.0 percent) from three-point range, well below its season-average of 41.9 percent that ranked second in the country entering the NCAA Tournament. The navy Aggies also were 0-of-4 at the free throw line, the first game this season without making a free throw. Texas A&M made 49.0 percent (25-of-51) field goal shooting, hitting 44.4 percent (8-of-18) behind the arc, while hitting 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from the charity stripe.
After missing its first four shots of the game, USU later took a 5-4 lead on a three-pointer from the right wing by Quayle, but Sloan countered with a layup to spark TAMU's 10-0 run, capped by a Loubeau jumper at the 13:11 mark and a 14-5 Texas A&M lead.
Utah State cut the gap to 21-18 with 7:46 to play on a jumper by sophomore guard Jaxon Myaer, but back-to-back three-pointers from the right corner by Middleton and Holmes gave A&M a nine-point cushion. USU didn't get within seven for the rest of the half and TAMU stretched its lead to 42-27 with 57 ticks to go before Wesley hit a layup with 29 seconds left for a 42-29 halftime deficit.
Utah State fell to 2-6 when trailing at intermission while Texas A&M improved to 21-5 when leading at the break.
USU clawed away at the deficit and trimmed it to seven at 49-42 with 12:41 to go after Wesley and Bendall layups, forcing a Texas A&M timeout. Out of the break, TAMU reeled off eight unanswered points to open a 57-42 lead with 9:10 left. USU got within 10 at 57-47 with 6:53 remaining on a Quayle jumper, but couldn't get any closer as TAMU pulled away for the win.
Utah State had just nine turnovers while TAMU had 11 miscues, but the maroon Aggies had a 10-7 edge in points off turnovers.
Quayle is the lone senior for USU, which made its 19th NCAA Tournament in school history and the seventh in last 11 years under head coach Stew Morrill, including the second-straight season.
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