Logan • A three-point exhibition was the talk of Utah State’s Mountain West home opener on Saturday night.
The announced crowd of 10,015 saw a shooting display like the Spectrum has rarely hosted — a combined 25 made shots from three-point range on a whopping 49 attempts.
The Aggies were ruthlessly efficient with their 3-pointers, going 10-for-14 behind a 5-for-5 night from TeNale Roland. It was his career best in points, 3-pointers made, and shooting percentage, and the Aggies’ 10 makes from deep were the most since Utah State faced Mississippi State in November.
San Jose State gave just as good as they got, however, dropping 15 long shots on Utah State’s beleaguered defense. The Aggies, who came into the game with one of the best 3-point defensive percentages in the country, gave up the program’s most 3-pointers since 2005.
Rashad Muhammad, a freshman who was once offered a scholarship to Utah State, made his first six attempts from behind the line. But the magic wore off as the Aggies vaulted out to a double-digit lead.
“We knew that they were going to take a lot, but the shot selection, I think we were a little surprised by it,” Spencer Butterfield said. “They were taking them pretty far out, and we had to adjust a little to that, get a little more up in there, stretch the floor.”
Big paint advantage helps spur victory
Jarred Shaw’s return didn’t shock and awe, but it definitely had a big impact on how the Aggies performed in the paint.
The senior center, in tandem with a double-double from forward Kyle Davis, played a part in helping Utah State outscore the Spartans 34-16 in the lane while getting almost twice as many rebounds. While the barrage of 3-pointers certainly helped the Aggies build that edge, the paint was virtually locked down, as the Spartans were blocked seven times and their two starting forwards fouled out.
Davis notched his third double-double in as many games, but he offered some of the credit to Shaw, who gave him room to work.
“Just the impact he makes on the game, it’s something you don’t noticed by a spectator,” Davis said. “It’s the way he contests shots, and the way he gets us going — I think he took two or three charges today. Obviously a huge lift for him and I’m as happy as can be that he’s back.”