Aggies down Bulldogs, move to 4-0

LOGAN – Senior guard Preston Medlin had a game-high 21 points, center Jarred Shaw had 17 and forward Spencer Butterfield added 16 as the Utah State basketball team rolled past Mississippi State 87-68 on Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

“It was a nice home win,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “As I told our guys, we have a really hard time getting that quality of opponent to come in. You know the years that it’s been since we’ve had teams from the SEC and PAC-12. It’s nice to have them come here and for us to take care of business and get a win. It will probably discourage other teams from coming in. The word’s probably already out on this one.”

The Aggies never trailed against the Bulldogs, leading by as many as 21 in the second half behind strong rebounding and solid shooting. USU outrebounded MSU 41-23 and shot 51.9 percent from the field.

Shaw had a strong start for USU, scoring the Aggies’ first six points before foul trouble limited him, but Medlin and Butterfield picked up where Shaw left off. Medlin scored eight straight points during one sequence, and the trio combined to shoot 13-of-16 from the free throw line.

“When you play a team that pressures like that you have to bring it in and let the point guard get to his position,” Medlin said. “You have to run the plays hard, set good screens, and that gives you a lot of open shots. I thought our offense was great tonight. We set a lot of good screens and got a lot of guys open so that really helped us.”

USU also got strong games from former Sky View Bobcats Jordan Stone and Jalen Moore, who combined for 13 points and 14 rebounds in the game. Moore recorded nine points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes of action, while Stone finished with four points and six rebounds — all from the free throw line.

“Our coaches told us they would crash the offensive boards hard, so I was just trying to be aggressive on the rebounds and get some for the team. It was a great win for us,” Moore said.

The Aggies improved to 4-0 this season, the first time USU has started a season with four straight wins since 2008-09. It was also the fifth time Utah State has started 4-0 under Coach Morrill.

USU faces a quick turnaround, traveling south for a pair of in-state battles next week. First up is a tilt with Weber State in Ogden on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m., and then a neutral site game against BYU at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.

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