Gaels Ground Aggies' Streaks With 68-63 Victory Saturday
Dec. 5, 2009
LOGAN, Utah - Saint Mary's scored the last five points in the final minute of play to knock off Utah State, 68-63, Saturday night in men's basketball action at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, snapping USU's home court winning streaks.
The loss halts the Aggies' 37-game home winning streak and 65-game regular season non-conference home winning streak, as well as their 41-straight home non-conference victory streak.
Utah State football legend Merlin Olsen was honored at halftime, as Utah State University announced Saturday that it is naming the playing field inside Romney Stadium "Merlin Olsen Field."
USU is now 4-3 overall on the year while SMC improves to 6-1, winning four in a row. Saturday was the Gaels' third win this season over a Western Athletic Conference team, beating New Mexico State (100-68) and San Jose State (78-71).
The Aggies still lead the all-time series with Saint Mary's at 4-3, but the Gaels have won the last two meetings.
Utah State had four players in double-figures, led by junior guard Pooh Williams' 15 points, including 11 after halftime, while senior guard Jared Quayle tossed in 13 points and nine boards to go with matching a game-high five assists. Junior forwards Tai Wesley and Nate Bendall posted 12 and 11 points each, respectively, before both fouling out late in the contest.
Omar Samhan led SMC with game-highs of 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Ben Allen added 14 points and seven boards and Matthew Dellavedova tallied 11.
The Aggies shot 25-of-63 (39.7 percent) from the field, hitting 3-of-12 (25.0 percent) behind the three-point arc while making 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) at the free throw line.
The Gaels were 42.6 percent (26-of-61) field goal shooting, netting 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from three-point range and were 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from the charity stripe.
USU had a 41-38 rebounding edge, but SMC had a 17-8 second-chance edge, but the Aggies had a 24-14 points in the paint advantage. The game had nine ties, seven lead changes and a power outage, which happened at the start of intermission, as the winter weather caused a short power outage across the city of Logan.
Down 14-12, Utah State went on a 6-0 run for an 18-14 lead, but Saint Mary's reeled off 11 unanswered points, getting seven points from Samhan during the spurt, for a 25-18 lead. The Gaels held for a 30-26 halftime lead before USU cut it to 33-31 on a Williams three-pointer from the left wing. Down 46-42, USU scored four straight points on back-to-back layups from freshman guard Preston Medlin and Williams to knot the score at 46-all, bringing the soldout Spectrum to a roar and forcing a SMC timeout with 12:23 on the clock.
The crowd roared even louder at the 8:55 mark when junior guard Tyler Newbold hit a jumper to give USU a 52-51 advantage, its first lead since 18-16. After Samhan hit one free throw to tie the score, Quayle hit a three-pointer for a 55-52 Aggie lead. That would be USU's largest and last lead of the second half, as Saint Mary's scored seven-straight points for a 59-55 lead, with Allen capping the streak with a trey from the left wing with 4:39 to play.
The Aggies drew even at 63-63 with 1:06 on a pair of free throws by sophomore forward Brady Jardine, but SMC's Clint Steindl hit a triple from the right corner with 36 seconds left. After a USU turnover, Mickey McConnell hit two free throws with 17 seconds on the clock for a five-point Gael lead and the Aggies' final three three-point attempts were off the mark.
Utah State closes out its five-game homestand by hosting in-state foe Utah Valley on Saturday, Dec. 12 in a 7:05 p.m. tip-off at the Spectrum. Saturday's game between the Aggies and Wolverines will be broadcast on CW30 (Comcast Ch. 15 in Cache Valley).
For Utah State 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.