Utah State Holds Off Austin Peay Rally For 71-68 Win Tuesday
Nov. 20, 2007
LOGAN, Utah - After a tough weekend on the road, Utah State needed a good dose of home medicine and the Aggies got that with a hard-fought, 71-68, win over Austin Peay Tuesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Austin Peay's Derek Wright had a long three-point attempt bounce off the rim with less than two seconds remaining to preserve the USU victory.
The Aggies got back in the win column after two losses and evened their record at 3-3. The Governors fell to 1-2 with both losses coming on the road.
Four USU players posted double-figures, led by senior All-American guard Jaycee Carroll's game-high 20 points. The Evanston, Wyo., native also tied a career-high by dishing out eight assists and pulled down seven rebounds, matching a game-high. Carroll started his 103rd career game, tying Kendall Youngblood (1989-92) for third on USU's career games started list.
Junior forward Gary Wilkinson (South Jordan, Utah) was 8-of-8 from the field and tallied 19 points, including a string of six-straight points in the first half. Redshirt-freshman forward Tai Wesley (Provo, Utah) netted a career-high 12 points off the bench and senior forward Stephen DuCharme (Andover, Kan.) tossed in 10.
Austin Peay matched Utah State with four players in double-digits, as Fernandez Lockett led the Governors with 17 points.
USU's win evened the series with AP at one-all. The two meetings have had a combined difference of seven points after the Governors beat the Aggies, 80-76, in overtime in the championship game of the BP Top of the World Classic on Nov. 19, 2000.
The victory was USU's 47th-straight regular season non-conference home win, which is currently the country's second longest behind Duke's 52 in a row. USU improved to 44-13 following a loss and 9-0 after consecutive setbacks. The Aggies also moved their November record under head coach Stew Morrill to 35-10, including 16-0 at home. Overall, Utah State has won 20 consecutive home November games.
For the third home game in a row, USU led from the get-go, jumping out to a 17-8 lead after Wilkinson's six straight points and the Aggies' lead hit double-digits for the first time at 21-11 on a Wesley layup at 12:32.
The lead expanded to 36-22 with 1:46 left in the first half on a pair of Wesley free throws and USU took a 36-24 advantage into halftime.
Austin Peay pecked away at the deficit, closing to 51-47 at 9:24 of the second half on a jumper by Drake Reed before an old-fashioned three-point play from Wilkinson regained control for USU at 53-47 with 8:54 to go in the game. The Aggies pushed their lead back up to 10 at 64-54 on a layup from junior guard DeUndrae Spraggins (East St. Louis, Ill.) with 3:21 to play.
The Governors again roared back and got within three at 67-64 with 1:23 left on a trey from Wes Channels, but Austin Peay couldn't get any closer as Carroll and Wilkinson each hit a pair of free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Utah State shot a season-best 65.0 percent (26-of-40) from the field but was a season-low 20.0 percent (2-of-10) behind the three-point arc. Austin Peay hit 60.0 percent of its shots in the second half after shooting 33.3 percent in the first half, finishing the game at 45.5 percent (25-of-55). The Governors were 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) from three-point range.
The Aggies had a 17-12 advantage at the free throw line, shooting six more than the Governors (20-14).
USU also had a controlling, 29-19, rebounding advantage, marking the fifth time in six games that the Aggies have outrebounded the opposition.
Utah State heads to the South Padre Island Invitational, taking on Vanderbilt on Friday, Nov. 23 at 8:05 p.m. (MT) and will play either Bradley or Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 24 at either 4 or 6:30 p.m., depending on the result of Friday's game.
Aggie basketball games are broadcast on KVNU (610 AM) and KLZX (95.9 FM) in Logan, Utah, KFAN (1320 AM) or ESPN Radio (1230 AM) in Salt Lake City and KLZX (105.3 FM) in Montpelier, Idaho, as well as on the internet at www.UtahStateAggies.com through Yahoo! Sports. Al Lewis serves as the play-by-play announcer.
USU returns home to host Santa Clara on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:05 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
For Utah State basketball ticket information, fans can go to www.UtahStateAggies.com and click on "tickets" or call the USU Ticket Office at 1-800-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305.