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Utah State basketball: Icy shooting dooms Aggies to 62-54 loss against Wolf Pack

Published January 12, 2014 1:16 pm

College basketball • Utah State shoots 31.3 percent overall and go 2 for 16 on 3-pointers.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Reno, Nev. • There was no fire and brimstone. No anger.

As the Aggies shuffled out of the locker room, all that remained was disappointment.

A 62-54 loss to Nevada (9-8, 4-0) on the road Saturday night saw Utah State (11-4, 1-2) shoot its worst, a frigid 21 for 67, since last year. A late run fizzled short of a comeback, and the Aggies left in a daze from their latest loss, a tough one to explain for any of them.

Although coach Stew Morrill has had his share of bombastic postgame news conferences, he spoke in hushed tones after this one. And he didn't spare himself from blame.

"I got to do a better job coaching, because we just weren't good at all tonight," he said. "Give Nevada credit: They're 4-0 in league. But we just weren't very good."

Part of it was a Wolf Pack defense that bothered the Aggies with length and speed. But there were more than enough misses to go around.

Utah State shot under 30 percent from the field for the second half, and didn't make a 3-pointer for the final 24 minutes of the game. Senior guards Preston Medlin and Spencer Butterfield — typically double-figure-scoring stalwarts from the wing — combined for only 13 points while shooting 6 for 24.

Even Jarred Shaw, the only Aggie to score in double digits with a game-high 19 points, was only 7 of 20 from the floor. No one was exempt from the offensive issues.

The Aggies couldn't wrap their heads around it either.

"I really couldn't tell you," sophomore forward Kyle Davis said. "Those are shots we're going to make pretty much every night."

The slow scoring night came despite solid rebounding and defensive efforts by the Aggies. They held Nevada to 41.8 percent from the field, and leading conference scorer Deonte Burton was held to a season-low 14 points.

But the rebounds came only because Utah State missed so often. Even down the stretch, as the Aggies closed a 15-point gap to six, they couldn't find the buckets they needed. A 3-pointer with 2:51 left by the Wolf Pack's Cole Huff, who had 16 points, seemed to sap Utah State's remaining fight.

The team would make only two more baskets for the rest of the game, missing seven other attempts.

"We've got to give more, man," Shaw said. "We've got to come together."

The last comeback attempt was one of a few by Utah State, which trailed by as much as eight before briefly regaining the lead in the first half. The Wolf Pack, however, punched out of halftime with a 13-2 run and the Aggies never truly flirted with getting the lead back again.

Utah State's 2-for-16 night behind the 3-point line was its worst percentage night since its season opener in 2010.

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Storylines

O The Aggies shoot a season-low 31.3 percent from the field.

• Only one Utah State player (Danny Berger, 1 for 1) shoots better than 50 percent.

• USU doesn't make a 3-pointer for the final 24:19 of the game. —

Nevada 62, Utah State 54

UTAH ST. (11-4)

Butterfield 3-14 0-0 7, K. Davis 4-7 1-4 9, Shaw 7-20 5-6 19, M. Davis 1-3 2-2 4, Medlin 3-10 0-0 6, Berger 1-1 0-0 2, Moore 1-4 2-2 4, Roland 1-5 0-0 3, McGlaston 0-3 0-0 0, Stone 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-67 10-14 54.

NEVADA (9-8)

Evans, Jr. 2-9 2-3 6, Huff 5-9 2-2 16, West 5-8 1-3 11, Perez 3-11 2-2 8, Burton 5-9 3-4 14, Coleman 1-4 1-2 3, Fenner 1-3 0-2 2, Fall 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 23-55 11-18 62.

Halftime—Nevada 32-28. 3-Point Goals—Utah St. 2-16 (Roland 1-4, Butterfield 1-7, M. Davis 0-1, McGlaston 0-1, Medlin 0-3), Nevada 5-18 (Huff 4-7, Burton 1-3, Coleman 0-2, Evans, Jr. 0-3, Perez 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Utah St. 48 (K. Davis 9), Nevada 35 (Evans, Jr. 8). Assists—Utah St. 12 (Roland 6), Nevada 8 (Burton 5). Total Fouls—Utah St. 15, Nevada 13. A—6,142.