March 25, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Scoring the most points since 1997 and breaking the century mark for the first time since 2011 boosted Utah State men's basketball to a 105-81 rout of Oakland Sunday afternoon in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament semifinals at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies will host Mercer in the championship game on Wednesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. (MT), in a nationally televised game on Fox College Sports (Comcast 263 and DirectTV 623, check local listings for Dish Network).
USU's 105 points was not only the most scored this season, but the most since netting 100 against Montana Western last year, and the most scored since 111 against Southern Oregon in 1997. Utah State also scored a season-high 60 points in the first half, for its most points in any half this season and matching the most in school history according to available records, last scoring 60 against Houston Baptist in the second half in the 2008 game. The Aggies also set season-bests for field goals made (37), three-point percentage (75.0 percent) and assists (26).
Utah State won its school-record fourth-straight postseason game, as the four postseason games is also a new top mark in the program's history. The Aggies improved to 21-15 in winning for the seventh time in their last eight games. Oakland ended its season at 20-16. Sunday was the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Golden Grizzlies.
Four Aggies posted double-digits, led by sophomore guard Preston Medlin's game-best 26 points, netting 20-plus points for the seventh time in the last 12 games and 13th time this season. Senior guard Brockeith Pane added 20 points to go with 10 assists, one shy of his career-best.
Fellow senior forward Morgan Grim added his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds, for top team honors and tying for game-best honors. Grim has scored in double-digits in three of the last four games, the best four-game stretch for him since five-straight games in late December and early January. The 18 points is also two shy of Grim's career-best while the 10 rebounds is his fourth double-digit rebounding outing, all of which have boosted him to the double-double. Grim's 10 boards helped USU to a 39-34 rebounding advantage, as Medlin tied a career-high with nine rebounds, and Grim also took three charges on defense
Sophomore guard Danny Berger drained a career-high five three-pointers on the way to 17 points. Medlin added four treys as the Aggies torched the nets from behind the arc to the tune of 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) in the first half, finishing the day 12-of-16 (75.0 percent) as that shooting percentage from three ranks tied for seventh all-time in USU history.
Oakland was led by 23 points by Reggie Hamilton, who entered the game as the nation's leading scorer and also dished out nine assists. Travis Bader matched Hamilton in hitting four three-pointers each, as Bader finished with 22 points. Ryan Bass added 12 points while Drew Valentine chipped in 10 points. Corey Petros pulled down 10 rebounds.
USU shot 63.8 percent (37-of-58) from the field, hitting better from behind the arc at 75.0 percent (12-of-16) and were 76.0 percent (19-of-25) at the free throw line. Oakland made 26-of-71 (36.6 percent) field goals, also shooting better from outside the three-point line at 37.1 percent (13-of-35) and the Grizzlies were 16-of-22 (72.7 percent) at the charity stripe.
After Oakland took its lone lead of the game at 3-2, the Aggies opened up a 13-3 lead just three minutes in as Pane, Berger and Medlin hit three's in successive order. The Grizzlies got within six at 16-10 after a jumper by Bass, but the Aggies then went on a 15-4 spurt, capped by a three-point play from freshman forward Jordan Stone for a 31-14 lead with 10:36 on the clock and Oakland never got within single digits the rest of the game. Junior guard E.J. Farris hit a trey at the 8:15 mark for USU's only 20-point lead of the half at 38-17. The Aggies took a 60-43 lead into halftime, as USU has now won 17 of 19 games this season and 66 of its last 68 contest when holding an intermission advantage.
After the Grizzlies trimmed the gap to 12 just over a minute into the second stanza, the Aggies later put the game out of reach with a 17-7 run, capped by a Medlin layup for a 77-55 lead with 13:06 to go. Stone hit a pair of free throws to hit the 100-point plateau at the 4:10 mark and two free pitch shots by Berger gave USU its largest lead of the day at 30 with 3:20 left at 105-75, and the Aggies glided to victory.
Fans can get complete information on Wednesday's championship game at www.UtahStateAggies.com, the official home of USU Athletics.
To purchase Aggie basketball tickets, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or on-line 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com by clicking on the "tickets" button.
Fans can follow the Aggie basketball program at twitter.com/Aggiehoops or on the USU men's basketball blog at usubasketball.blogspot.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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