SAN JOSE, Calif. The law of averages final caught up with the Utah State Aggies.
In the last five meetings between the Aggies and San Jose State, the final score was never more than 11 points in favor of the Aggies each time.
On Monday night, the Spartans were on the winning end of a close one.
For the second straight game, the Spartans outshot and outrebounded the Aggies, but this time they have a win to show for it.
Chris Oakes scored a career-high 21 points, while Time Pierce and C.J. Webster added 16 and 15 points, respectively, as the Spartans upset first-place Utah State, 70-67, Monday night, dropping the Aggies into a tie with Nevada with four Western Athletic Conference losses.
The loss was Utah State's third loss in seven days all on the road and matched the longest losing streak under head coach Stew Morrill since his first season at USU, 1998-99.
The tailspin began with a 85-80 loss at Nevada last Monday, then they blew a 14-point second-half lead in a 71-66 loss to Hawaii Saturday, and then capped off with the loss to San Jose State.
"(It) was a tough week. A really tough week," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "We went from the penthouse to the outhouse in one week."
The Aggies (18-9, 8-4) trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half and managed to cut the lead to three on two occasions. The first came at the 8:39 mark of the second half when Jaycee Carroll, who scored a game-high 31 points, knocked down one of his four 3-pointers in the game.
After cutting the deficit to 60-57, the Aggies went nearly four minutes without scoring a field goal they had one free throw during that span and San Jose State (12-13, 4-8) built the lead back to eight with 4:27 left.
Kris Clark drilled a 3-pointer to cut the gap to five, and had ample chances to get it closer, but they missed their next four shots.
Trailing by five with less than a minute to play, Carroll scored to cut it to three again with 38 seconds left, and San Jose missed the front end of a one-and-one situation to leave the door slightly ajar.
However, the Aggies missed three 3-pointers on one possession, and then had one last chance with 3.1 seconds left, when they had the ball out of bounds on their own end line for one more chance to tie the game. But Carroll threw the ball away.
"It was a poorly thrown ball on my part. I didn't seen that kid (Tim Pierce). I was watching my guy come across," Carroll said. "I don't know where that guy came from. It looked like I threw it right to him. I expect to make better plays than that."
The Aggies dug themselves in a hole early in the first half, and it didn't help that Tai Wesley was ejected for a flagrant foul two minutes into the game.
Without Wesley, the Spartans dominated the middle and scored 26 points in the paint. Webster and Oakes combined for 36 points, while Utah State's posts, Gary Wilkinson (3), Welsey (0), Matt Formisano (3) and Stephen DuCharme (8) combined for just 14.
The Spartans built a 15-point first half lead, thanks in large part, to 21 free-throw attempts (they made 13), and 4-of-9 3-pointers.
Utah State managed to whittle the lead to 11 at the break.
Carroll scored 18 of his 31 points in the second half to help the Aggies get into a position to win the game down the stretch.
"We fought back hard and came back and made some shots, made some runs, got some stops and all those shots at the end, it was great we had them, but if we would have done a little bit better work early in the second half those shots wouldn't have been as important," Carroll said of the three late three-pointers.
San Jose State shot 43.9 percent from the field and grabbed 34 rebounds, while Utah State shot 42.1 percent and grabbed 32 boards.
Behind Carroll, Clark finished with 12 points and Tyler Newbold added 10.The Aggies return home to host UC Santa Barbara on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Smith Spectrum. The BracketBuster event will be broadcast on ESPNU.
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