LOGAN — With just over 20 seconds left against Idaho on Saturday night, Utah State head coach Stew Morrill called a timeout. His Aggies trailed 69-66 and Morrill took the whiteboard to draw up a play he hoped would get Preston Medlin a good shot and send the game to overtime.
Morrill drew up a play the Aggies call "Wing." The initial look was there, but Medlin turned it down, hoping to get something better. The Aggies then scrambled through secondary looks as time and options began to wind down.
"Get something up so we have a chance," Morrill said afterward of what was going through his head at the time.
Big man Jarred Shaw ended up with the ball with time running out. After the game, Shaw said he thought about taking his chances with what would have been first 3-point attempt of the season, but wisely thought better of it. Instead, he handed the ball off to Medlin and set a screen to get the Aggies' star guard open.
Medlin took the shot and found nothing but net with 0.4 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
Just like they drew it up.
"We ran the play and didn't have the look so we just kind of went with what we had," Medlin said. "… I feel like I want the shot and want to see how far I can take it. It was a big shot for us."
There was no denying the Aggies after that. With the momentum and a Spectrum crowd roaring throughout overtime, Utah State (13-1, 4-0 WAC) pushed through to an 82-75 overtime victory against the visiting Vandals (6-7, 2-1).
"In overtime, I knew I wanted the ball in my hands and I wanted to shoot the ball," Medlin said. "I was trying to be aggressive and my shot was finally going in."
Medlin's shot only came about thanks to the Aggies' defense, which held the Vandals scoreless in the final 3:38 of regulation. Utah State finished the second half on an 8-0 run to get the game to overtime.
"You've got to give the credit to Preston Medlin, who made a heckuva shot," Idaho head coach Don Verlin said. "We didn't execute the way we were supposed to on that last play and didn't get it done. That's the way it goes."
It was the second time this season that Medlin has hit a 3-pointer to send a game to overtime. Medlin pulled off the same feat at Santa Clara in another Aggie overtime win.
"We love Preston," Shaw said. "That's the second time this year he's done that. I don't know what it is. We are just going to keep it rolling."
While Medlin's heroics down the stretch garnered the most attention it was a balanced effort from the Aggies that got them to that point. All five USU starters scored in double figures, led by Medlin with 22, including nine of the Aggies' 13 overtime points.
Shaw and frontcourt teammate Kyisean Reed fought off early foul trouble, but still found ways to contribute. Reed finished with 17, while Shaw had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.
After playing four games in eight days, the Aggies get a chance to rest their tired legs. In the next 11 days, USU plays just a single home game against San Jose State on Friday night.
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.
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