LOGAN — Less than 48 hours after throwing up enough bricks to put a new expansion on the Spectrum, the Utah State Aggies got their shooting mojo back on track Saturday night. USU (2-1) shot 57 percent, never trailed and cruised to a 77-68 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“Statistically we played pretty well,” Utah State head coach Stew Morrill said. “Twenty-one assists, only nine turnovers. We shot the ball well and outrebounded them. Doesn’t seem like it should have been quite that close. They’ve got some good athletes that kept playing and made it interesting. We’re glad to get a win.
"Now we move on to next week.”
The Aggies led by as many as 22 in the second half, but the Islanders were able to chip away with excellent 3-point shooting. The deficit got to as little as seven in the waining moments, but ultimately the Aggies were never threatened and washed the bad taste of their mouths that Thursday night’s loss to Saint Mary's left.
“I thought we made a little progress,” Morrill said, comparing Saturday's effort to Thursday's effort. “I’m not doing cartwheels, but I thought we made progress.”
The best news of the night for Morrill was his backcourt. Those guys struggled mightily against Saint Mary’s, but broke out in a big way Saturday. Guard Preston Medlin got back on track and led all scorers with 17 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists.
“I didn’t play very good on Thursday. I was hoping that I’d come out tonight and play better on the offensive end,” Medlin said. “I feel like I did that and it was good for our team tonight.”
The biggest plus from the guards came from point guard TeNale Roland. The junior-college transfer scored nine points and dished seven assists in his best game of the young season. Most importantly for Morill, Roland did not commit a turnover.
“Coach Morrill was pretty happy,” Roland said of his assist-to-turnover ratio. “I want to congratulate my teammates who knocked down shots when I got the ball.”
Aggie big men Jarred Shaw and Kyisean Reed continued to play well. Shaw scored 17 points and pulled in seven rebounds while Reed had 15 points and six rebounds against the outmanned Islanders' front court.
The announced Utah State crowd of 9,673 was fired up before the teams even made it to the floor. Approximately a thousand fans came to the Spectrum to watch the Utah State football game being shown on the big screen. Most celebrated the victory by watching the hoops team immediately after.
Fans will get a chance to root for both squads again Saturday. The basketball Aggies will host Weber State in the Spectrum on Saturday night right after the football team finishes its regular season with a game against Idaho at Romney Stadium.
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.