Logan • When Kyisean Reed is engaged and ready to play basketball, Utah State can be a pretty good offensive team.
When Preston Medlin is scoring and playing his normal effective all-around game, the Aggies can be tough to stop. And when Brockeith Pane is taking care of the ball and not throwing it all over the gym, USU is pretty darn effective.
The issue for Aggie fans is that these three things have happened very little simultaneously this season, which explains USU’s middling record. On Thursday night, however, during a 77-63 win over Louisiana Tech at the Spectrum, all was right with Utah State hoops.
“Coach [Stew] Morrill has been on us to make good decisions and play well and together offensively,” Medlin said. “We were able to do that tonight, and it worked. You could see us gelling out here.”
Medlin, the sophomore shooting guard, scored a game-high 22 points, while grabbing four rebounds and handing out three assists. Reed was a monster in the paint, throwing down four dunks, and scoring 20 points to go along with nine rebounds. Pane had nine points and six assists. His lack of a single turnover was his most valuable statistic.
Together, the three pointed the way for the Aggies, who broke the game open in the second-half with suffocating defense and an offense that didn’t have any prolonged lapses.
“This was a win we needed in the worst way, obviously,” Morrill said. “I think we did the things we had to do. I thought that we guarded awfully well in the second half. Obviously we shot the ball well, there were quite a few phase in the game where we did a lot better tonight.”
Defensively, Louisiana Tech shot just 8-27 from 3-point range and 39 percent overall for the game. Brandon Gibson and Raheem Appleby, one of the best freshmen in the WAC, scored 15 points each. But the Bulldogs failed to put anyone else in double figures. Louisiana Tech hurt itself with seven missed free-throws and USU was able to outrebound the Bulldogs 35-29. It was the fourth consecutive game that Utah State was able to best its opponent in that category, after previously struggling mightily in that area.
“We were able to get the ball in the post and score tonight and that was a key,” Reed said. “That was great offense. Preston found me a lot and I had the space to make a move with the ball. Louisiana Tech was little, but they were really quick.”
The Aggies move to 13-12, and 5-5 in the WAC. In the first game of five consecutive at the Spectrum, USU is hoping to use this as a springboard for the remainder of the season, in to the conference tournament.
R IN SHORT • USU improves to 11-2 this season at home with a 77-63 win against Louisiana Tech.
Key stat • Utah State has two players score 20 points for the third time this year.
Key Moment • The Aggies, up 47-43 with 13 minutes remaining, go on an 8-1 run and are never threatened again.