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Utah State basketball: Aggies defeat Wyoming on Senior Night

Published March 6, 2014 11:41 am

Mountain West • Utah State wins battle in the paint.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Logan • If Wednesday night was the last game five Aggie seniors ever play at the Spectrum, it was a proper send-off.

Utah State's five — Spencer Butterfield, Sean Harris, Preston Medlin, TeNale Roland and Jarred Shaw — each got a jersey. They each got a start. And prevailing through a few slow patches, they collectively got a win.

The 65-54 result over Wyoming could be the final stop for those five Aggies in the Spectrum, but they made it work. With an overwhelming advantage on the boards and physical play in the paint, Utah State (17-13, 7-11) notched their final conference win of the season and gained some momentum headed into the league tournament next week.

The Aggies also got to leave their hometown fans with a positive last impression.

"We want them to think we're really together," Butterfield said. "We love each other. We love playing with each other. I think you could see that just from the beginning of the game just how excited we were with everyone scoring and contributing."

The Aggies were throttled by the Cowboys the last time the two played, but Wyoming came without injured star center Larry Nance. Utah State punished them around the hoop, outrebounding their guests by 20 and getting big nights from Kyle Davis and Shaw.

Shaw led all scorers with 14 points and added 10 rebounds, despite getting benched before the end of the game on a technical foul. Davis led the effort on the glass, getting 14 rebounds and chipping 11 points.

"We always emphasize pounding the boards," coach Stew Morrill said. "But obviously that got us a lot more possessions, and in a close game that really helps."

Spencer Butterfield and TeNale Roland also had double-digit nights in what could be their final appearance at the Spectrum. Each had four assists.

Trailing by three at halftime, Utah State used a 10-0 run to climb back in it after the Cowboys started the second half hot. Later, Utah State had an 11-3 run that gave it the lead for good. While the Aggies didn't hit consistently from deep, Roland, Butterfield and Medlin each made second-half 3-pointers that helped them inch away.

At the finish, Wyoming was forced to foul, and the Aggies knocked down free throws to seal their seventh conference win of the year. Utah State finished 15-for-19 from the line, making seven of their final eight free throws.

Defensively, the Aggies played the Cowboys tough. Wyoming shot only 36.2 percent from the field, and only 20.8 percent from beyond the arc. Josh Adams led all scorers with 21 points, but the rest of his team struggled with efficiency. A rowdy student section gave them grief for three missed dunks during the game.

The Aggies got an initial lift from the Senior Night festivities.

After the five were honored with jerseys before the game, they started out hot, taking an early lead as each senior scored within the first 5:09 of the game. Notably, the only senior who isn't a regular starter, Sean Harris, scored his first career field goals.

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon