Logan • Preston Medlin had a brief window early on in the 20-second stretch, but didn’t fire. Jarred Shaw saw an opening, but also held off.
With the seconds escaping, Medlin found himself with the ball in his hands on the wing, all alone. For the second time this season, the junior guard took the shot that tied a game his team could’ve — and maybe should’ve — lost.
“I feel like I want that shot,” Medlin said. “That’s a shot I feel I can take. It was a big shot for us tonight.”
The 3-pointer dribbled in, setting the stage for a thrilling Aggie victory in overtime, an 82-75 win over Idaho (6-7, 2-1) on Saturday night that set the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum alight. Medlin added nine for his 22-point night to seal it up in the extra period and keep Utah State’s record (13-1, 4-0) blemish-free through Western Athletic Conference play.
Down 69-61 with just more than three minutes left, the Aggies appeared to be on their last legs, playing their fourth game in eight days. But somehow, Utah State shored up a porous defense to hold the Vandals scoreless for the rest of regulation, then got a chance with 20.6 seconds left to tie.
Medlin took the shot, but coach Stew Morrill was proud of the whole team’s fortitude.
“That was very good poise under the circumstances,” he said. “We were way down, and they were rolling, they were making shots. I’m really proud of our guys and that they hung in there and found a way.”
After tying the game up at 69, Utah State surged past the broken Vandals. Marcel Davis made a jumper, then Medlin scored nine straight points to put Idaho to bed. Although the Aggies were only 6 for 12 from the line in overtime, Idaho couldn’t put together much offense itself.
In the huddle after Medlin’s big shot, the momentum swing inspired the Aggies for the final run. They would not be denied, they resolved.
“We’re at home, and we don’t like losing at the Spectrum,” Jarred Shaw said. “Our fans deserve it. We just tried to get the fans what they deserved.”
It was a dramatic turn from regulation, when the Vandals had shot more than 60 percent in the second half. While Utah State struggled to a 41.5 percentage from the field for the game, Idaho got inside buckets from Stephen Madison and 3-pointers from Connor Hill that just kept falling.
The Aggies also dealt with foul trouble, getting in deep early in the frontcourt while facing star center Kyle Barone. But Kyisean Reed and Shaw made an impact nonetheless, combining for 29 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan Stone and Ben Clifford had strong minutes as well, helping Utah State to a 46-36 rebounding edge despite shoddy shooting.
Freshman Davis also took his turn in the spotlight, finishing with 14 points, four assists, five rebounds and no turnovers. As a team, the Aggies had a season-low five giveaways, scoring 17 off of Idaho’s 11 turnovers.
Along with the Santa Clara game, which also went to overtime, it was the Aggies’ closest call. As Utah State prepares for San Jose State next Friday, Morrill said the team will be working hard on its mistakes.
But with a win, the Aggies have something to be proud of, too.
“It would’ve been really mentally easy to quit,” he said. “We didn’t do that. We did what we needed to do.”
Storylines Big buzzer-beater
R Preston Medlin hits his second game-tying buzzer-beater of the season while scoring a team-high 22 points.
• Utah State outscores Idaho 13-6 in the final period.
• Kyisean Reed scores 17, and Marcel Davis adds 14 points.