LOGAN — The Aggies are finding out that being at home cures all ills. Utah State (13-12, 5-5) steadily pulled away in the second half to take down Louisiana Tech (11-13, 3-6) 77-63 in the Spectrum on Thursday night. The win snapped a two-game losing streak, both coming away from their home crowd.
"We needed a win in the worst way obviously," said head coach Stew Morrill.
"It was nice that we had to do the things we had to do. I thought we guarded awfully well in the second half and got ourselves a comfortable margin."
Louisiana Tech shot just 37.9 percent in the second half while Cordarius Johnson and Romario Souza, who led the Bulldogs with eight and seven at the half, were both shutout in the final 20 minutes.
The Aggies, on the other hand, caught fire in the second half shooting 63 percent and were paced by forward Kyisean Reed who had 16 of his 20 points after the break. Included in those 20 points were three vicious dunks, the last of which came over the 6-foot-10 Souza and fouled the Brazilian big man out. Thanks in large part to Reed, the Aggies outscored the Bulldogs 42-20 in the paint.
"I love them all. Can't single one out," Reed said with a laugh when asked which of the jams his favorite was.
Reed is not the only one who loves them all. The dunks also get the crowd into the game when the Aggies are at home and in turn give the team a spiritual lift.
"It gives me a boost, I like any time we can get easy baskets," Morrill said on the emotional boost Reed provides with his highlight slams.
While Reed was making the highlight plays, guard Preston Medlin quietly led Utah State with a game-high 22 points of his own, including making four of his six attempts from beyond the arc. Medlin added four rebounds and three assists to his game.
"We came out in the second half and knew we were going to need to play better defensively than we did in the first half," Medlin said of the increased intensity on the defensive end. "I thought we came out aggressive on the defensive end and they were missing shots and we were grabbing rebounds."
Point guard Brockeith Pane finished with a nice all-around game with nine points, six assists, four rebounds and most importantly no turnovers. Being careful with the ball has been an area of emphasis for all the guards lately.
"I talked to (Pane) about how we can't have as many turnovers out of our guards with him and Preston," Morrill said. "And he goes six assists and no turnovers. I thought that was a key for us."
Louisiana Tech was led by guards Raheem Appleby and Brandon Gibson who scored 15 points each. Guard Kenyon McNeaill had nine points and led the Bulldogs with four assists.
Friday is an off day for Utah State, but they will be back in action early on Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. tip against rival New Mexico State.
That game will be televised by ESPN2.