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Utah State players watch from bench watches during the final moments of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Las Vegas. San Diego State won 73-39. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Utah State basketball: SDSU pounds Aggies at MW tourney

No. 8 Aztecs hold Aggies to their lowest point total since 1994.

First Published Mar 13 2014 12:32 pm • Last Updated Mar 13 2014 11:40 pm

Las Vegas • If the Aggies lost any sense of grounding in their Wednesday victory, San Diego State firmly put them in their place on Thursday afternoon.

The Aztecs stormed past Utah State (18-14, 7-11) as if it wasn’t there, notching an easy 73-39 win over a program that was outgunned in every aspect of the game. The Aggies couldn’t shoot, couldn’t take care of the ball and could never keep pace with the No. 8-ranked team in the country, bowing out on the second day of the program’s first-ever Mountain West tournament.

At a glance

Storylines

Utah State shoots aseason-low 29.3 percent and doesn’t make its first basket until more than six minutes into the game.

»  Jarred Shaw accounts for half of the team’s field goals.

No. 8 San Diego State 73, Utah State 39

UTAH ST. (18-14)

Shaw 6-11 2-2 14, Medlin 0-5 3-4 3, Roland 0-1 1-2 1, Butterfield 1-6 0-0 2, K. Davis 1-3 0-0 2, M. Davis 0-3 4-4 4, Clifford 0-0 2-2 2, Noma’aea 0-1 0-0 0, Berger 0-1 0-0 0, Moore 2-4 0-1 5, McGlaston 1-4 1-4 3, Stone 1-2 1-2 3, Harris 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals 12-41 14-21 39.

SAN DIEGO ST. (28-3)

Spencer 3-3 0-1 6, Thames 5-11 1-2 15, Shepard 6-12 1-1 13, O’Brien 2-3 0-0 4, Davis 4-6 0-0 8, Allen 1-5 0-0 2, Polee II 4-7 0-0 9, Quinn 2-5 1-2 6, Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Shrigley 2-5 1-1 6.

Totals 31-59 4-7 73.

Halftime—San Diego St. 36-15. 3-Point Goals—Utah St. 1-10 (Moore 1-1, Roland 0-1, McGlaston 0-1, Butterfield 0-2, Shaw 0-2, Medlin 0-3), San Diego St. 7-17 (Thames 4-7, Quinn 1-2, Shrigley 1-3, Polee II 1-3, Shepard 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Utah St. 27 (Butterfield, K. Davis 5), San Diego St. 35 (Davis 13). Assists—Utah St. 6 (Berger, Medlin 2), San Diego St. 19 (Thames 7). Total Fouls—Utah St. 13, San Diego St. 16. A—NA.

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Put simply, it was a whipping. Coach Stew Morrill couldn’t do much but pay homage to the Aztecs afterward.

"They’re a very impressive basketball team, and I wish them nothing but the best," he said. "Obviously tough to get thumped like that your last game, but they totally dominated us."

The Aggies took 61/2 minutes to hit their first shot of the game, and offense never got much easier. San Diego State’s defense held them to only 29.3 percent shooting as the Aggies scored the fewest points of the Stew Morrill era.

Jarred Shaw went 6 for 11 in the game on his way to a team-best 14 points. The rest of the team went 6 for 30.

Even within 10 minutes, it was clear the Aggies were no match. By the closing minutes of the first half, the Aztecs had a 21-point lead thanks to the 3-point shooting of Xavier Thames and rim-rocking dunks from Winston Shepard.

The Aztecs pounded the boards and forced turnovers, and it paid off handsomely. San Diego State notched 22 points off of 14 Aggie turnovers, and it added 14 second-chance points off 10 offensive rebounds.

For Utah State, the second half was mostly about reining in an ever-ballooning San Diego State lead. Whereas the Aggies had managed to rally the day before for an improbable comeback against Colorado State, those theatrics were nowhere to be found against the tournament’s top overall seed.

"With that type of team, you can’t dig yourself into a hole, because it will be hard to get back in," Shaw said. "We dug ourselves a deep, deep hole. We couldn’t make shots, so that could help us get back in the game."


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It was the most extreme example yet of Utah State’s struggles against the best teams in the Mountain West. Only a season removed from competing the WAC, Morrill acknowledged he and his team had been perhaps "a little naive" to think they could compete for an NCAA berth in their new league.

"The Mountain West, the venues, the talent level — I mean, it’s a huge jump," he said. "I knew the challenges that were going to be there. But I’ve been away from it long enough that it kind of slapped me in the face."

The team merely felt the sting of another loss, potentially the Aggies’ last game of the year barring a postseason tournament appearance. Morrill called the possibility "unlikely."

It was with a weary voice that Spencer Butterfield talked about perhaps his last game at Utah State.

"They’re probably the best team we’ve played all season long," he said. "You can just tell by the score."

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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