POCATELLO — Early in the Utah State men's basketball season, it looked like the always-efficient Aggie offense might be lost this year.
Turns out for the Aggies, though, they just left their shooting eye in Pocatello. On the road Saturday night at Idaho State, the offense came alive as Utah State hit 58 percent of its shots, including 13 3-pointers, to beat the Bengals 75-62 in front of 2,545 fans at Holt Arena.
The 13 3-point makes was tied for second-most in school history.
"It helps when you make shots," said Utah State head coach Stew Morrill. "It looks like a much easier game when you make shots. We had some guys make a lot of shots tonight and that was the whole thing."
Preston Medlin led all scorers with a career-high 26 points, rebounding from a forgettable scoreless performance in his last game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Of those 26 points, an amazing 24 came from deep as Medlin finished 8-of-11 from 3-point range. The Aggies as a team finished 13-of-19 from beyond the arc.
"You go from zero one game and 26 the next, that's quite a contrast," Morrill said of Medlin. "He's at his best when he's excited and having fun playing basketball. He has had his dobber down a little bit and it helped to have a couple shots go down. You could see he was having fun."
Medlin came just two shots short of Jaycee Carroll's team record of 10 3-pointers made, set in 2006 at New Mexico State.
"I came out and knew I needed to get some shots up. I was hitting and my guys were getting me open, so it was good," Medlin said. "That was just what they gave us. I just happened to be open and put it in the basket."
Along with Medlin, Adam Thoseby helped carry the Aggies to a 32-29 lead in the first half with his own long-range shooting. Medlin finished the half 4-of-7 from deep while Thoseby added three more long-distance shots to give the Aggies seven first half 3-pointers — two more than their previous game high this season. Thoseby finished the game with a career-high 16 points.
"I think the team's confidence finally came into play," said Thoseby. "Everyone started passing the ball really well. We played really unselfishly and hit shots like we did in practice. We are finally starting to gel as a team. It's taken a while because we have so many new guys."
Led by Brockeith Pane's nine, the Aggies finished with a season-high 21 assists, 10 more than their previous season high. Pane, a regular starter, came off the bench due to what Morrill called a "coaches decision" and had 10 points along with four rebounds.
In their most balanced scoring effort of the season, the Aggies had five players reach double figures. Big men Morgan Grim dropped in 11 points of his own and Ben Clifford put up 10 points and seven rebounds in his first career start.
"We've been in somewhat of a funk and struggling to get a lot done. Hopefully this win will help a little bit," said Morrill. "We've still got a lot of warts."
Utah State will return home on Wednesday night to face future WAC foe Denver University, which will be joining the conference for the 2012-2013 season.
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