Ravell Call, Deseret News
LOGAN — No wonder Utah would be just as happy not to play Utah State here any more.
The Aggies beat the Utes for the seventh straight time at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, taking a 79-62 victory Wednesday night amid talk the Utes wouldn't be playing in Logan, or perhaps anywhere against Utah State, in the immediate future.
"We definitely wanted to win this in-state game, especially with it probably being the last time Utah comes here for awhile," said USU coach Stew Morrill.
"With all the talk about Utah not playing here again, we wanted to make sure we sent them out on the right note," said Brady Jardine, who scored a career-high 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.
On Tuesday, Morrill complained about Utah not wanting to continue its 102-year series with Utah State, saying, "They said they are going into the Pac-10 and their schedule is full, and they don't want to come to Logan."
Utah athletics director Chris Hill disputed that somewhat, saying nothing has been decided yet. Ute coach Jim Boylen wouldn't comment after the game, referring all questions about the series to Hill.
The Aggies certainly seemed to be the more motivated team while improving to 3-1 on the season, the same record Utah went home with after the loss..
USU jumped on the Utes early, grabbing an early double-digit lead, saw the lead cut to one briefly, early in the second half, before extending the lead to its largest margin on a 3-pointer by Tai Wesley with one second left in the game.
Wesley finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the Aggies and also had eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Besides Jardine's 20, the only other Aggie in double figures was Pooh Williams with 11 points.
Boylen pointed to rebounds (45-32 for USU), poor shooting (37.9 percent) and second-chance points as the main reasons for his team's defeat.
"I thought overall our defense was pretty good, but I thought second-chance points were a big part of the game," Boylen said. "We had 13 more shots than they did, but didn't make our open shots."
The Utes were led by Will Clyburn with 16 points, Josh Watkins with 15 and Shawn Glover with 13. The Utes only got four points from their center position as David Foster and Jason Wasburn each scored two points and combined for only three rebounds.
"It all came down to toughness," said Watkins. "This was our first time on the road and we had a hostile environment and we weren't tough enough."
Watkins showed some early jitters as he had three turnovers before the game was three minutes old and went to the bench with two fouls with 9:59 left. Glover broke out of an early-season slump, scoring 11 of Utah's first 13 points to keep the Utes from being blown out early.
USU kept a double-digit lead for much of the first half and had a chance to go up 14. However, Watkins scored his first points of the night with a 3-pointer from the left corner just before the buzzer.
Trailing 35-26 at halftime, the Utes came out strong in the second half with three quick baskets to cut the lead to two. First Washburn made a hook shot, Clyburn followed with a three-point play, taking it all the way on a fast break, and then Watkins hit a jumper from the left side,
The Utes twice pulled within one point, but after failing on seven straight possessions, the Aggies pushed the lead back to 10 at 50-40 with 13:01 left.
A 3-pointer by Antonio DiMaria cut the lead to six at 59-53 with 7:42 left, but the Aggies ran off eight straight points as Clyburn missed three straight 3-pointers.
The Utes will return home to play Oral Roberts Saturday night, while the Aggies play host to Northeastern the same night.
GAME NOTES: After shooting 45 free throws Saturday against Weber State, the Utes only shot 13, making eight, compared to USU, which made 30 of 39 from the line … Morgan Grim, who transferred from Utah after the 2009 season, played nine minutes and scored three points, all on free throws . . . The attendance was 8,368, lower than usual, because some students had gone home for the holiday break and because the temperature outside was below zero . . . Utah won 68-67 in Salt Lake. The year before the Aggies won 66-64 in Logan . . . Utah leads the all-time series is 130-92.
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