Utah State basketball: Aggies win conference opener vs. UT San Antonio
A few missed free throws made the Aggies wince at the end of a closer-than-comfortable road game on Saturday night. A faulty scoreboard helped draw out the contest.
But Utah State (10-1, 1-0) eventually left UT San Antonio (4-7, 0-1) with a win in the Western Athletic Conference opener, a 71-67 victory over the Roadrunners in which its offensive efficiency and another strong performance from junior Preston Medlin carried the Aggies to the finish.
Medlin had a season-best 24 points, shooting from near and far, burying looks nearly at will with a 9-for-15 shooting night. Medlin had scored 14 by halftime to give Utah State a lead that it held onto most of the night.
In fact, the team's best execution came on the offensive side of the floor. Utah State shot 62.2 percent from the field, as Spencer Butterfield scored 14 and Jarred Shaw scored 11. The Aggies were able to get many of the looks they wanted on their way to topping the 70-point mark for the fourth straight time, and UTSA looked mostly unable to stop them.
The Roadrunners' best defense was to get Utah State to the free-throw line, where the Aggies were only 10 for 21. Missed charity-stripe shots by Kyisean Reed and Marcel Davis toward the end made a seven-point game more interesting, but UTSA was eventually undone by shooting only 2 for 9 from the field in the final four minutes.
The Aggies were favored in a matchup with a UTSA team branded with one of the WAC's worst nonconference records. But the Roadrunners challenged Utah State with fierce long-range shooting, led by Jordan Sims' six 3-pointers in a 20-point outing.
The Roadrunners also bested the Aggies on the boards, the second consecutive time Utah State has been outrebounded this year. With 15 offensive rebounds, UTSA got plenty of second chances.
But the Aggies got great performances out of their starting lineup, which scored all but seven of the team's points. Shaw nearly had a double-double with nine rebounds, and Reed had nine points and six rebounds with a few defensive plays that helped stop any Roadrunner momentum.
Even freshman Davis had a good outing, despite being limited by foul trouble, finishing with six points and four assists against only one turnover. Taking care of the ball was key late in the game for Utah State, which gave up only three turnovers in the second half.
The Aggies face a second road game on Monday against Texas State, only Utah State's fourth road game this season.
O Preston Medlin scores a season-high 24 points.
• Utah State shoots 62.2 percent from the field.
• The Aggies score more than 70 points for the fourth time in a row.
Utah State 71, UT-San Antonio 67
UTAH ST. (10-1) • Butterfield 6-7 1-2 14, Reed 4-5 1-5 9, Shaw 5-11 1-2 11, Davis 2-2 1-2 6, Medlin 9-15 3-4 24, Clifford 0-0 0-0 0, Lopez 1-1 0-0 2, Jean 0-2 1-2 1, Roland 1-2 1-2 3, Stone 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 28-45 10-21 71.
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO (4-7) • Hill 5-15 0-1 12, Sims 7-10 0-0 20, Wilkins 4-6 1-2 9, Hale III 0-5 2-2 2, Burrage 5-16 3-4 14, Price 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 3-8 0-0 8, Mayberry 0-0 0-0 0, McGregor 1-3 0-0 2, Wood 0-1 0-0 0. Totals • 25-64 6-9 67.
HalftimeUtah St. 39-31.
3-Point GoalsUtah St. 5-11 (Medlin 3-7, Davis 1-1, Butterfield 1-1, Roland 0-1, Jean 0-1), Texas-San Antonio 11-29 (Sims 6-8, Thomas 2-5, Hill 2-8, Burrage 1-5, Wood 0-1, Hale III 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsUtah St. 31 (Shaw 9), Texas-San Antonio 32 (Hill 9). AssistsUtah St. 8 (Davis 4), Texas-San Antonio 14 (Sims 5). Total FoulsUtah St. 16, Texas-San Antonio 17. A1,077.
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