Utah State Routs Oral Roberts, 76-55, Saturday
Dec. 29, 2007
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State routed Oral Roberts, 76-55, in men's basketball action Saturday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in the Aggies' final tune-up for Western Athletic Conference play. USU enters conference action with a five-game win streak.
Saturday's win was Utah State's seventh triumph in the last eight outings in improving to 10-5 on the season. Oral Roberts is now 7-5 on the year including just 1-4 on the road.
With the win, the Aggies improve to 6-1 all-time against the Golden Eagles, winning the last five straight in the series as well as all three at Logan.
The victory was the eighth-consecutive home win for Utah State this season and USU is the only team in the WAC that has not lost on its home court this season. Overall, the Aggies have won 23 of their last 24 games in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Saturday's win was also USU's 52nd regular season non-conference home game in a row, the second-longest in the country behind Duke's 56 in a row.
Under head coach Stew Morrill, Utah State has now won 46 straight home games during the month of December and end the month with a 6-1 record. Overall, USU is 51-16 at home under Morrill and is now 427-105 all-time in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
By keeping ORU under 70, USU is now 10-0 when keeping the opponents under that mark, as the Aggies have held the opposition to 69 points or less in each of the last five games, all victories for Utah State.
Four players in USU jerseys posted double-digits Saturday, led by junior forward Gary Wilkinson (South Jordan, Utah) with a game-high 15, logging double-figures for the sixth time in last seven games.
Senior All-American guard Jaycee Carroll (Evanston, Wyo.) and freshman forward Tai Wesley (Provo, Utah) netted 14 points apiece with Wesley scoring all 14 of his points in the first half as USU built a 42-16 halftime lead, the fewest points the Aggie defense has allowed in a half this season.
Senior forward Stephen DuCharme (Andover, Kan.) tallied 10 points off the bench along with eight rebounds, tying Wesley and Wilkinson for team-high honors.
USU out-rebounded ORU, 46-33, on the night, improving to 7-2 when out-rebounding the opposition.
The Golden Eagles were led by Adam Liberty's 11 points while Marcus Lewis tossed in 10.
Utah State shot a scorching 54.6 percent (18-of-33) from the field in the first half and ended with 52.6 percent (30-of-57). From three-point range, the Aggies were just 3-of-13 (23.1 percent). USU was also 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) at the free throw line, as five players did not miss.
Oral Roberts ended the night at a paltry 19-of-63 (30.2 percent) field goal shooting after hitting just 7-of-30 (23.3 percent) in the first half. ORU was also 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) behind the three-point arc and 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) at the charity stripe.
After ORU scored the first basket of the game, USU took the lead for good just 35 seconds into the contest on a three-point play from Wilkinson to spark an 8-0 run. USU later had a 12-0 spurt to take a 20-4 lead at the 11:26 mark on a Carroll jumper.
The Aggies' gap topped the 20 mark for the first time at 32-11 with 6:08 on the first half clock after senior guard Kris Clark (Wilmington, N.C.) had a thread the needle pass through the ORU defense to junior guard DeUndrae Spraggins (East St. Louis, Ill.) on a fast-break layup. Clark dished out a game-high seven assists on the night.
A steal at midcourt and a layup from DuCharme with eight seconds in the half sent USU into intermission with a 42-16 lead.
The Aggies extended their lead to 29 at 67-38 after a layup by Wilkinson, but couldn't push it to the 30-point margin as ORU trimmed it to 21 with just over three minutes remaining and USU cruised to victory.
Utah State opens WAC play on Thursday, Jan. 3 when Hawai'i visits the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in a 7:05 p.m. contest. After heading to conference rival Nevada on Saturday, Jan. 5, the Aggies return home for three games in a row, beginning with New Mexico State on Saturday, Jan. 12.
USU 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.