LOGAN — A month ago in Las Cruces, N.M., Utah State center Jarred Shaw was beat up and pushed around by New Mexico State in one of his worst games of the season. In the Spectrum on Saturday night, however, it was Shaw who did the beating up and pushing around.
The big man scored 24 points and pulled down eight boards against the biggest lineup in the Western Athletic Conference as Utah State hung on to defeat NMSU 73-69.
Spencer Butterfield added 17 points to make up the bulk of the Utah State scoring. Jordan Stone chipped in with six points and seven rebounds in big minutes for the blue Aggies off the bench.
New Mexico State was paced by Remi Barry, who came off the bench to score 15 for the crimson Aggies.
Utah State led by as many as 11 with under four minutes to play, but had to hang on in the final few minutes as NMSU applied full-court pressure and forced the home-standing Aggies into several turnovers.
Utah State came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, reeling off a 13-1 run to lead 19-5 in the opening minutes of the game. New Mexico State would not go easily, however. The crimson Aggies immediately answered with a 12-0 run of their own to pull within a point. After a back-and-forth final few minutes of the first half USU took a 40-37 advantage into the locker room.
Butterfield led USU with 15 points in the opening half while Shaw finished the first 20 minutes with 10. Barry led NMSU with 10 points in just eight minutes after being forced to sit with three fouls.
Utah State now takes a break from WAC play to visit BYU on Tuesday night. The Aggies then come back home to play Illinois State on Saturday night in an ESPN "BracketBuster" game.
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.