Aggies Gouge Gauchos, 71-64, Saturday
Nov. 16, 2013
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Seniors Preston Medlin and Spencer Butterfield combined for 34 points to lead Utah State men's basketball to a hard-fought, 71-64, win at UC Santa Barbara Saturday night at UCSB's Thunderdome, to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2008-09. Medlin also became the 36th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
The 3-0 start is the sixth under head coach Stew Morrill, and the best since going 5-0 in 2008-09. UCSB is 2-1 after the loss. Saturday was the 64th meeting between the Aggies and Gauchos, which is the 11th-oldest rivalry in USU history, with Utah State now leading the all-time series, 40-24. USU has won seven of the last eight meetings overall and now lead, 16-13, in games played at Santa Barbara.
Medlin, a guard, netted a game-high 18 points, going over 1,000 career points, becoming the 36th player in USU history to reach the 1,000 points plateau, and he now has 1,011 points, climbing up to No. 34, passing Bill Hull (1951-54) with 1,007 points. Medlin needs three points to tie former teammate Tyler Newbold (2008-11) at No. 33 with 1,014 points. Medlin made four three-pointers on the night.
Butterfield, a guard/forward, added 16 points also hitting four three-pointers to tie a career-high. He also snared seven rebounds.
Junior forward Ben Clifford added 10 points, including 6-of-6 at the free throw line, all coming in the last 5:01 of the game, including four in the final 20 seconds to secure the win.
The Aggies were 22-of-52 (42.3 percent) from the field, making 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from three-point range as well as 17-of-19 (89.5 percent) at the free throw line.
The Gauchos were 48.0 percent (24-of-50) field goal shooting, including 33.3 percent (6-of-18) behind the arc and 55.6 percent (10-of-18) at the charity stripe.
UCSB, which was without its leading scorer center Alan Williams, who suffered back spasms during warm-ups, was led by 15 points by Michael Bryson. Sam Beeler added 14 and Kyle Boswell tossed in 11. Taran Brown led UCSB with seven rebounds.
After the Gauchos scored the first bucket, Roland and Butterfield hit treys for a 6-2 USU lead less than two minutes into the action. The Aggie advantage grew to 27-19 with 5:39 left in the half after a pair of free throws by junior center Jordan Stone. USU took a 39-29 lead into halftime as Medlin hit a triple from the right corner with 1:24 left in the half, that put him over the 1,000-point mark.
The Gauchos charged out of intermission with an 11-0 run to take a 40-39 lead with 17:27 on the clock on a Bryson layup. Later, after UCSB took a 44-43 lead on a Boswell layup, Medlin hit a three-pointer to spark 13-2 USU run, capped by back-to-back Butterfield triples from the top of the arc for a 56-46 led with 10:48 to go. The Gauchos got within 58-54 at the 6:02 mark on a jumper by Zalmico Harmon, but Roland hit a three-pointer on USU's next possession and UCSB didn't get within four until 30.9 seconds left on a layup by Bryson cut the gap to 67-64. However Clifford hit two free throws with 22.8 on the clock and two more with 9.0 ticks to seal the victory.
USU returns home to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, to host Southeastern Conference foe, Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7:05 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Mississippi State will be the first SEC opponent to visit Logan since Arkansas did so on Dec. 27, 1971, won by USU, 95-94, in OT. MSU will only be the third SEC team to play at USU, as LSU played in Logan on Dec. 30, 1970, also won by the Aggies, 97-81, for USU's 2-0 home mark against SEC foes. Utah State is 0-1 against the Bulldogs of MSU, losing on the road, 66-64, on Dec. 31, 2011.
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).
Utah State 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.