Aggies hold off WSU Wildcats with late-game surge
Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012 01:11
Utah State used staunch defense and accuracy from the foul line to turn a painstakingly close game into a 65-55 victory over Weber State in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday.
The Aggies went on a 12-2 run during the final five minutes of the game and made 20-27 foul shots in the second half to put the victory away.
"They were a very physical team, which is something we knew coming into the game," junior guard Preston Medlin said. "It was good for us to attack them and we got to the line a lot. I feel like we shot pretty well from the free throw line."
Neither team had more than a 5-point lead through the first 35 minutes and the game was tied 28-28 at the half.
"That's the kind of games we generally have with Weber," Utah State head coach Stew Morrill said. "Kind of knock-down, drag-out, tough to score. We're just glad we hung in there and found a way to grind one out."
With 4:33 to go in and the game tied at 53-apiece, Utah State center Jarred Shaw hit a jumper to spark a 6-0 run to put the Wildcats away.
He rejected sophomore guard Gelaun Wheelwright's 3-point attempt well into the Aggie student section a minute and a half later to preseve the lead.
"I was kind of late on the screen, so I figured I better block it or get yelled at," Shaw said.
Shaw finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, going 7-12 from the field and 2-2 from the foul line.
"We were being physical," Shaw said. "Coach Stew, he emphasized playing inside-out. If we get it going on the inside early, it'll be better for us on the outside later."
The Aggies held Weber State to two points in the final five minutes, the Wildcats missing seven foul shots during that stretch and finishing 16-29 from the line.
"We played good defense," he added. "We got stops and the crowd got into it and that was big for us. That's what we needed."
Medlin finished with 17 points to lead all scorers and nine rebouds to go with four assists and three steals.
The Wildcats were held to 3-13 from the 3-point line, something that plagued Utah State in last year's matchup.
"Coach emphasized that to us, that they're a good 3-point shooting team," Medlin said. "It was good for us to only allow them three 3's, which is big-time. I feel like that's really what helped us win the game."
Weber State drops to 1-2 with the loss. The Aggies are now 2-1 and will next face UC Santa Clara on the road Wednesday at 8 p.m.
"We'll take it," Morrill said. "Onto the road next week."