Aggies net 1500th win
Clifford, Roland and Lopez break career highs in game against UTSA
Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 10, 2013 00:03
Behind a trio of career-highs, the Utah State men’s basketball team pulled away down the stretch for a 71-51 win over UTSA on Saturday. Ben Clifford, TeNale Roland and Matt Lopez each recorded or tied career highs for points scored.
“This was a game that we needed to win,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “It was our last game at home, it was senior night and all of that. We needed to win this game.”
It was the 1,500th win in USU men’s basketball history, making Utah State the 52nd NCAA school to reach that mark in history. The Aggies are 1,500-1,031 all-time.
Clifford carried the Aggies in the first half, scoring 11 of his game-high 21 points while recording eight points and three assists, but USU struggled to pull away from a scrappy Roadrunner squad.
“My shots were going in and I felt good all night,” Clifford said. “Both teams played pretty good defense in the first half. I think we held them to within 20 percent for shooting. We couldn’t really score, but we got some good shots; not the best shots, but we missed those shots.”
Michael Hale III led UTSA with 21 points and flustered USU on both sides of the ball after drawing three offensive fouls. Hale III finished with four assists and four rebounds and a steal.
Roland scored all 14 of his points in the second half to fuel the Aggies, while Lopez added eight to tie his career high. The Aggies out-rebounded the Roadrunners 42-26 on the night, while shooting 50 percent from the field.
The Aggies used a 25-12 run over the final 10 minutes to put the game away down the stretch and finished 14-of-16 from the free throw line for 87.5 percent.
“We played much better in the second half,” Morrill said. “I thought that we played good offense and kind of stretched it out. We passed the ball well; we finally made some shots. We really struggled with shooting the ball in the first half. We had some pretty good looks and we just didn’t make them.”
Four USU players scored in double digits in Clifford, Roland, Butterfield and Shaw. Butterfield had 14 while Shaw had 11 on 4-of-10 shooting.
Utah State will play UT-Arlington on Thursday, March 14 in the first round of the WAC tournament in the 4-5 seed matchup. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. MST.