Aggies Cage Cougars, 71-61, Wednesday
Dec. 2, 2009
LOGAN, Utah - Down by one early in the second half and not quite in stride, Utah State found its rhythm to the tune of a 16-7 run to take an eight-point lead and never looked back to beat Brigham Young, 71-61, Wednesday night in men's basketball action in a raucous, sold out Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in the 226th meeting between the two teams.
With USU on the short side of a 39-38 score, senior guard Jared Quayle hit three free throws to start the spurt. Quayle capped it with a three-pointer from the left wing right after freshman guard Preston Medlin's second trey of the streak to open a 54-46 Aggie advantage and Utah State pulled away for the win to improve to 4-2 on the season, while dealing BYU its first loss of the season as the Cougars are now 5-1.
It was USU's fourth-straight win over BYU in the Spectrum to improve to 59-51 vs. the Cougars on its home court. It was the Aggies sixth victory in the last nine meetings as USU now trails the all-time series, 135-91.
Wednesday was also the Aggies' 37th-straight home victory, which is the second longest in the country behind Kansas' 45 in a row. USU has also won 41 consecutive home non-conference games and 65 of its last 67 overall. Additionally, Utah State now has 65-straight regular season non-conference home triumphs. It was USU's first packed house of the season and 27th sellout overall under USU head coach Stew Morrill.
Quayle led all scorers with 22 points, netting 18 in the second half, as the Aggies out-scored the Cougars, 39-26, after intermission.
Junior forward Nate Bendall logged his second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow junior forward Tai Wesley notched 13 points and nine boards. Those rebounds guided USU to a 37-32 rebounding advantage, which led to a 13-5 USU edge in second-chance points.
BYU was led by Jimmer Fredette's 19 points, hitting a game-best three three-pointers, while Chris Miles tossed in 11 points. Jonathan Tavernari was the Cougars' top rebounder with eight, but netted just four points, eight and a half below his average, on just 1-of-11 shooting.
After BYU took a 10-3 lead on a spinning layup from Tyler Haws, USU went on an 8-0 run, capped by a Wesley layup for an 11-10 lead. The Cougars countered with their own 9-0 spurt, topped by two free throws by Charles Abouo for a 19-11 lead with 8:45 left in the half. BYU opened a six point lead on two different occasions down the stretch, but USU closed to 35-32 at the break.
Quayle had an end-to-end layup to give USU a short-lived 38-37 lead before Fredette hit a pair of shots from the free pitch stripe for a 39-38 Cougar just over three minutes into the second stanza.
That would be BYU's last lead as Quayle hit his three free throws after getting fouled while shooting from the left wing, and Medlin later hit back-to-back three-pointers followed by a long Quayle jumper from nearly the same spot that he got fouled to open USU's 54-46 lead, capping the 16-7 run.
BYU closed to five on two different occasions, the last at 56-51 on a Miles layup with 8:19 to play, but USU scored seven of the next nine points to open a double-digit lead at 64-53 following a pair of Wesley free throws at the 2:51 mark. The Aggie advantage swelled to its largest of the night at 70-55 on two Quayle free pitches and USU coasted to the victory.
Utah State shot 22-of-52 (42.3 percent) from the floor, hitting 4-of-13 (30.8 percent) from three-point range, while making 23-of-28 (82.1 percent) at the free throw line.
BYU hit 38.9 percent (21-of-54) field goal shooting, netting 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) behind the arc and 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) from the charity stripe.
USU plays its fourth game of its five-game home stretch on Saturday, Dec. 5, hosting Saint Mary's in the Gaels first appearance in Logan since 1978. The Aggies then welcome Utah Valley to the Spectrum for another Beehive State battle on Saturday, Dec. 5. Both games are 7:05 p.m. tip-offs and will be broadcast on CW30 (Comcast Ch. 15 in Cache Valley).
For Aggie men's basketball ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the "buy/renew tickets" under the "tickets" drop down menu.