Dec. 21, 2007
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State maintained its unbeaten record in the Gossner Classic with a hard-fought 78-62 win over Northern Arizona in the championship game Friday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies improved to 26-0 in the Gossner Classic.
Senior All-American guard Jaycee Carroll netted game-high 33 points for his first career back-to-back 30-point game after netting 32 in Thursday's game. It was Carroll's seventh career 30-point game.
Carroll, a native of Evanston, Wyo., also set a new Gossner Classic scoring record as he posted 64 points for the tournament, topping the previous mark of 55 by Jaime Anderson of Buffalo in 1995.
For his performance, Carroll was named the Gossner Classic MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Tai Wesley and Gary Wilkinson. Northern Arizona's Kyle Landry, Utah Valley's Ryan Toolson and Furman's Noah States round out the award list.
Senior guard Kris Clark also established a new Classic record for assists, dishing out eight Friday to give him 18 for the two games after dropping a career-high 10 dimes Thursday. The previous record was 15 held by two different players.
The Aggies won their fourth in a row overall and sixth in the last seven games in improving to 9-5.
The Lumberjacks had their five-game winning streak axed and are now 8-5 on the year.
With the win, USU improved to 3-1 all-time vs. NAU.
By keeping the Lumberjacks under 70, the Aggies improved to 8-0 when keeping the opposition below that mark.
Wilkinson (South Jordan, Utah) tallied 14 points while Wesley (Provo, Utah) netted 11 points and snared a team-high seven rebounds. Wilkinson and Wesley also tied career-high in blocks with three and two, respectively, as USU had a season-high seven swats.
Northern Arizona was led by Landry's 20 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
The Aggies and Lumberjacks tied in the rebounding category with 29 apiece.
USU shot a whopping 57.1 percent (28-of-49) from the field in winning its 51st non-conference home game, the second-longest in the country. The Aggies were also 4-of-11 (36.4 percent) from three-point range.
At the free throw line, Utah State was 18-of-20 (90.0 percent).
The Aggie defense limited the Lumberjacks to 39.7 percent (23-of-58) field goal shooting and forced 14 NAU turnovers. Northern Arizona was also 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) three-point shooting and were 12-of-16 (75.0 percent) at the charity stripe.
The Lumberjacks took an early 7-2 lead before the Aggies bounced back to take the lead for good at 12-10 on a baseline jumper from junior guard DeUndrae Spraggins (East St. Louis, Ill.) at the 14:50 mark.
A Carroll trey with 3:17 left in the first half gave USU its first double-digit lead of the night at 36-26 before NAU chopped the deficit in half at 36-31 at intermission.
The Aggies later stretched their lead to the largest of the night at 18 on a three-pointer by Spraggins to make it 61-43 at the 11:13 mark. NAU closed to 68-61 after a trey by Zach Filzen but USU responded with a 10-2 spurt to close out the game, hitting all six free throws in the final 2:04.
Utah State continues its homestand after the holiday break, hosting Oral Roberts in the final conference tune-up on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7:05 p.m., following the USU women vs. BYU contest which tips off at 5 p.m.
Western Athletic Conference action begins for Utah State on Thursday, Jan. 3 when Hawai'i visits the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in a 7:05 p.m. contest.
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.
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.
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