Eli Lucero, AP
LOGAN — Utah State has certainly had its struggles in Mountain West play, but for at least one night everything was running just like it should.
Hosting a Boise State team that USU had never lost to in the Spectrum, the Aggies did what they have done so many times in the past at home. They executed their offense to near perfection and in the end walked away with a 76-70 win over the visiting Broncos.
The win moved the Aggies (14-9, 4-7 Mountain West) to 18-0 all time against Boise State (15-9, 5-6) at home and marked the first time USU has won back-to-back Mountain West games in its first year in the conference.
In an earlier meeting in Boise, the Aggies were undone by poor rebounding and let the Broncos mount a late run to steal the victory.
They didn’t let the story repeat itself in Logan. Boise State only collected six offensive boards and Utah State salted the game away at the free-throw line down the stretch.
The most unlikely clutch free-throw shooter was Kyle Davis. The forward had struggled from the charity stripe in past games, but has now hit 22 of his last 25 free throws since coming back from injury, including a perfect 7 of 7 Saturday. The key, according to Davis, has been a lot of practice.
“I’m trying to step up with more confidence too,” Davis said. “Just know that I’m going to make it. That’s been a big relief and positive these last few games.”
The Aggie offense was scorching hot all night, especially in the final 20 minutes. After battling back to tie the game right before the half, Preston Medlin began the second half with a 3-point make to give the Aggies their first lead since 2-0. Utah State never trailed in the second half.
Medlin led all Aggies with 19 points, 14 coming after halftime. Jarred Shaw collected his fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Davis added 15 points and eight rebounds, and guard Spencer Butterfield scored 13 to give the Aggies a balanced inside-outside threat all night.
“We got it inside tonight and they (Shaw and Davis) made good post moves. They didn’t settle for shooting jump shots,” Medlin said. “That brought everyone in and opened it up for us to drive. We hit a couple of floaters and a couple of 3s. It was good for us.”
The Aggies shot 56.9 percent from the floor, including a 62.5 percent mark in the second half.
“We had a hard time stopping them and they had a hard time stopping us,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said.
After floundering in the first half of conference play, the Aggies are now looking more like the team that many thought they could be before the Mountain West season opened.
“Believe it or not, we are in a pretty good frame of mind right now,” Morrill said. “Fortunately we are off to a 2-0 start in the second half of league. Hopefully we can go out and play well on the road.”
Utah State’s next game comes Tuesday night at Colorado State.
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.
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