Utah State used a 22-2 run in the second half to pull away from Texas State en route to an 81-57 victory over the Bobcats in San Marcos, Texas. The Aggies improve to 11-1 for only the fifth time in school history and are now 2-0 in WAC play.
Preston Medlin, Spencer Butterfield and Jarred Shaw were a three-headed scoring monster for USU, putting up 21, 18 and 17 points respectively. Both Medlin and Shaw are from the state of Texas and put on a show for their friends and family. Texas State’s Wesley Davis led all scorers with 22 points while Joel Wright added 11 more for the Bobcats.
Butterfield made a 3-pointer as time expired to put Utah State up 31-23 at the end of the first half. Despite being up at the break, the Aggies had some major struggles holding on to the ball. USU had 12 turnovers in the first half alone, one more than they had the entire game just two days earlier against UTSA.
“That was our main problem in the first half,” head coach Stew Morrill said. “Obviously we were just really loose with the ball. And they are quick. We had not been pressed like that all year long where they just press every chance they get, every made basket.”
The second half was a different story. Utah State only coughed the ball up three times in the final 20 minutes of the game.
“Our guys just did a better job taking care of the ball and they kinda settled into the game,” Morrill said.
“That first half was atrocious with all the turnovers but second half we played good. We answered a run they had.”
With 9:45 to play in the game, Utah State held to a 53-44 lead. Jarred Shaw then made a layup that sparked a 22-2 Aggie run over the next six minutes. The run pushed USU ahead of the Bobcats 75-46 and essentially put the game out of reach.
“We had a lot of guys make shots,” Morrill said. “We were aggressive. We attacked instead of being tentative. That was nice to see. We had a number of guys do a good job.”
The Aggies continued their hot shooting on the Texas road trip, going 52 percent for the game. USU shot well from behind the arc as well, making 42 percent on 11-of-26 shooting from long range.
USU got back on track on the glass after being out-rebounded by UTSA. The Aggies held a 25-15 advantage at halftime on the boards and finished the game with 40 rebounds compared to Texas State’s 32.
Butterfield did more than just score for the Aggies, adding six rebounds, nine assists and a steal to his 18 points on the night.
“I thought Spencer Butterfield was huge,” Morrill said. “He was all over the floor tonight. He plays the game with confidence and he plays it, you know, very very hard. He believes he can play. You’ve heard me talk a million times about wanting guys to believe they can play and he does. That’s a good line, a very good line. He just got rolling.”
Utah State returns home to host Seattle on Thursday, Jan. 3. The Redhawks (5-6, 0-1 WAC) are newcomers to the WAC this season and fell to Idaho 71-64 on Saturday, Dec. 29.
“Our students are filtering back in I’m sure, especially as we get to Saturday,” Morrill said. “We need to get the Spectrum back rockin’. Those are two big games; we actually have three in-a-row at home. It’s real important for us to keep this thing going as far as a good start in league play.”