Aggies Use First-Half Run To Topple Trojans, 78-65, Friday In Season Opener
Nov. 8, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Senior guard Preston Medlin led four players in double-figures and Utah State men's basketball used a 12-0 first-half run to propel the Aggies to a 78-65 win over USC Friday night in a near-capacity, raucous Dee Glen Smith Spectrum and in front of a national television audience in the season opener for both teams.
Friday was the first visit by a Pac-12 team to the Spectrum since Dec. 17, 1977, and was USC's first visit since the 1961-62 season, won by the Trojans, 74-72. Overall, USU has won three of the last four all-time meetings with USC, and the Aggies are now 7-8 overall against the Trojans, including 1-1 at home.
Medlin netted four three-pointers on the way to a team-high 17 points, in his first official game since mid-December, while fellow senior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield and senior center Jarred Shaw scored 12 points apiece. Sophomore forward Kyle Davis notched 10 points in his Aggie debut, adding seven rebounds, three blocks, three assists and one steal.
Utah State improved to 80-29 (.734) all-time in season openers and has won 19 of its last 20 season openers dating back to the 1993-94 campaign. Under head coach Stew Morrill, USU is 15-1 (.937) in season openers, including a 9-0 mark at home.
Junior forward Danny Berger tied a career-high with eight rebounds in his first official USU game since early December, adding five points, and four assists. Senior guard TeNale Roland added eight points, hitting a pair of three-pointers, while junior center Jordan Stone scored eight points off the bench, helping USU to a 19-8 bench-points advantage.
Butterfield and Berger dished out four assists each, while Kyle Davis and sophomore guard Marcel Davis posted four helpers each, part of USU's 21 assists on the night. Marcel Davis swiped a team-high two steals.
USU shot 48.3 percent (29-of-60) from the field, including 8-of-21 (38.1 percent) from three-point range, as well as 12-of-19 (63.2 percent) at the free throw line.
Shaw matched Davis with three blocks, and altered numerous other Trojan shots, as the Aggies defense limited USC to 36.9 percent (24-of-65) field goal shooting, making 16.7 percent (4-of-24) behind the arc and 81.3 percent (13-of-16) at the charity stripe.
The Trojans were led by J.T. Terrell's game-high 20 points, netting 3-of-9 from three-point range, while Omar Oraby and Byron Wesley scored 15 points apiece. Oraby also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, while Wesley and Julian Jacobs each snared eight as USC had a slight, 39-38, rebounding edge.
USU and USC traded baskets in the early going, with the Trojans taking an 11-9 lead at the 15:14 mark on the Jacobs jumper. That would be the visitor's last lead of the night, as the Aggies went on a 12-0 run, started and finished by a Davis, as a Kyle Davis layup sparked the spurt and Marcel Davis capped the run with a jumper with 9:51 to go for a 21-11 Aggie advantage. Terrell halted the streak with a three-pointer on USC's next possession and he later hit a three-point play to pull the Trojans within 21-17 with 8:39 to go. That would be the closest the Trojans got, as Butterfield drained a three-pointer from the right corner at the 8:20 mark for a 24-17 USU lead and the Aggies took a 40-33 lead into halftime.
With Friday's win, USU has won 85 of its last 87 games (.977) when leading at halftime. Over the last 14 years, USU is 292-25 (.921) when holding a lead at intermission. The Aggies bolted out of the second-half gates, as Roland netted a triple to start USU's scoring eight of the stanza's first 10 points for a 48-35 lead after a Medlin three-pointer and later a layup for the Aggies' largest lead of the night to that point at 48-35 with 18:13 on the clock and the Trojans took a timeout. The break did little to slow the surging Aggies, as another Medlin trey put the home team on top, 56-38, with 15:50 remaining.
The Trojans sliced the deficit to 12 at 56-44 with 12:53 left after a Roschon Prince bucket, prompting an Aggie timeout. Utah State scored the next eight points, capped by a Berger triple at the 10:01 mark for USU's first 20-point lead of the night at 65-44, and the Trojans didn't get within 13 for the rest of the contest.
Utah State has a quick turnaround, hosting in-state foe Southern Utah on Tuesday, Nov. 12 in a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Beehive State battle between the Aggies and Thunderbirds will be regionally televised on ROOT Sports.
USU men's basketball single-game, multi-game and season tickets are on sale. All single-game tickets will go on sale two weeks prior to each game. Single-game tickets will cost $18 for non-priority and $20 for priority, as well as $25 for premium games against Mississippi State (Nov. 23), BYU (Nov. 30 in Salt Lake City) and UNLV (Feb. 15).
USU men's basketball season ticket renewals and new season tickets are also still on sale. Season tickets start at $230 and they include all 20 home games as well as the BYU game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Nov. 30. Big Blue Scholarship Fund per seat commitment fees apply, ranging from $100-$900 per seat in addition to ticket cost.
Family Plans are also available for purchase at $800 (two adults and three Jr Aggies). Please be aware that there is a limit of one Family Plan per household.
To order a package or for more Aggie men's basketball ticket information, 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. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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.