LOGAN It was a historic night for coach Stew Morrill, and Utah State guard Jaycee Carroll almost made it a party for two.
Carroll scored 29 points to lead the Aggies to an 82-78 win over Boise State in front of a sellout crowd of 10,116 fans on Thursday night. The victory gave Morrill a school-record 226 wins, and left Carroll within just two points of becoming USU's all-time leading scorer.
Carroll scored his 29th point when he drained his fifth 3-pointer of the night with 28 seconds left in the contest. His basket gave the Aggies a 77-73 lead, and it was almost guaranteed that Carroll would get a shot to break the school scoring record with Boise State needing to foul to prolong the game.
The Broncos, however, avoided fouling Carroll the rest of the way and he will have to wait until Saturday's game against Idaho to have a shot at becoming USU's all-time leading scorer. He trails Greg Grant by just one point.
"That was my plan to get real close then just let him (Morrill) have his night," Carroll said jokingly.
Carroll got hot when his team needed him the most. Boise State took its first lead of the second half at 44-43 when Reggie Larry made a layup with 13:50 remaining in the game. Carroll didn't let the Broncos lead for long, as he was fouled on a 3-point attempt on USU's next possession and sank three foul shots.
The play ignited Carroll and the rest of the Aggies. Carroll, who scored nine points in a 99-second span, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give USU a 54-47 lead with 11:53 left in the game. Carroll's three free throws started a 13-3 run for the Aggies, giving them an advantage they never relinquished, but came close to late in the game.
It took Carroll a little more than 12 minutes to score his first points against the Broncos. Boise State frustrated him early in the game with double teams, but he eventually found his stroke.
"Early, he didn't get many good looks," Morrill said. "They ran two guys at him on the break and I think he got a little flustered. Boy, he got rolling, thank goodness, in the second half."
USU needed Carroll to be clutch because Boise State was determined to spoil Morrill's night. The Broncos got within a point of the Aggies when Matt Bauscher made a 3-pointer with 5:34 left. But USU responded with an 8-0 run in which Carroll made a 3-pointer and Gary Wilkinson converted a 3-point play. The spurt put the Aggies ahead 69-60.
Boise State coach Greg Graham was left frustrated by Carroll's big night.
"I thought we did a good job on Jaycee Carroll tonight, but he's just relentless," Graham said. "We made him work for everything, but he just kept coming. You can't put him on the foul line either, he'll knock them down. He's just a very nice player."
The Aggies also got contributions from Kris Clark, who was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line and dished 10 assists. Wilkinson had 21 points and seven rebounds.
"We need guys to step up every night and do those sorts of things," Carroll said.
USU survived a gut-wrenching final 20 seconds of the game. Boise State twice got within one point of the Aggies and even had the chance to win. The Broncos trailed by two points when Bauscher, who torched USU for 24 points, missed his final shot attempt with seven seconds remaining. Freshman Tyler Newbold grabbed the rebound and made two free throws to ice the game.
"It was a tough ball game a great game," Morrill said.The Aggies improved to 3-0 in the WAC, and it was their eighth straight win overall.
E-mail: [email protected]