USU improved to 11-1 on the season and 2-0 in WAC play for the fourth time in its eight years in the league, winning at least 10 games in a row overall for the eighth time under head coach Stew Morrill. The Aggies also improved to 4-0 on the road this season and have won their last six road games as part of winning 25 of their last 38 road contests. With Monday's win against Texas State, who is in its first and only season in the WAC, USU has now won 39 of its last 46 WAC games and has an 85-27 regular-season WAC record.
Texas State has dropped its first two WAC games, opening 0-2 in its first year in the league, and Monday's loss was its fifth loss in a row and seventh in the last eight games in sliding to 4-10 overall. Monday was also the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Bobcats.
USU netted double-digit treys for the first time this season, in scoring a season-high points in a half with 50 points after halftime Monday on the way to its second-highest scoring outing of the season. The Aggies also hit the 80-point mark for the third time this season, including twice on the road with 80 at Santa Clara to go with a season-high 86 points at home against Western Oregon. Utah State scored over 70 points for the fifth game in a row and is 8-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points and USU has been the winning team in 84 of its last 89 games when hanging at least 70 on the scoreboard.
A combined 38 of those points Monday came from USU's two active players on its roster from Texas, as Carrollton native and junior guard Preston Medlin netted 21 points while Dallas native and junior center Jarred Shaw tallied 17 points. Medlin scored 20 or more points for the second game in a row and third in the last four, hitting a season-high five three-pointers as part of a 7-of-15 field goal outing, as well as 2-of-3 at the free throw line. Medlin also shared team-high honors with junior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield and senior forward Kyisean Reed with six rebounds apiece. Shaw posted his 17 points hitting 7-of-9 field goals and 3-of-5 at the free throw line for his ninth double-digit scoring outing this season.
After scoring a season-high 14 points in each of his last three games, Butterfield bettered that mark with 18 points Monday, hitting three three-pointers. Butterfield also dished out a career-high nine assists, guiding USU to 21 helpers on the night, its third game this season with 20 or more assists, as freshman guard Marcel Davis added six while junior guard Marvin Jean tied a career-high with three.
After getting out-rebounded the last two games following out-rebounding the opponents in the first eight games of the year, Utah State had a 40-32 rebounding edge Monday night. USU had 12 offensive rebounds, which led to a 17-9 second-chance points edge.
Texas State was led by 22 points by Wesley Davis while Joel Wright added 11 points and Deonte' Jones tossed in 10. Wright and Staff pulled down nine rebounds each.
The Aggies shot over 50 percent for the third-straight game and seventh in the last eight games, making 51.7 percent (30-of-58) Monday night, including 63.3 percent (19-of-30) in the second half, as USU pulled away from a 31-23 halftime lead. USU's 11 three-pointers were part of an 11-of-26 (42.3 percent) shooting effort and USU was also 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) at the free throw line.
The Bobcats were 22-of-59 (37.3 percent) field goal shooting, making 22.7 percent (5-of-22) of their three-pointers and were 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) at the charity stripe.
Holding a 14-12 lead midway through the first half, USU scored seven unanswered points, capped by a three-pointer from junior guard TeNale Roland at the 8:10 mark for a palindromic 21-12 Aggie advantage. After the Bobcats clawed their way back to 25-23 with 2:21 to go in the half, Butterfield hit a pair of treys to close out the half, the second coming to beat the buzzer and send USU into intermission leading 31-23, as the Aggies improved to 9-0 this season and have won 75 of its last 77 games when leading at halftime.
A Shaw jumper gave the Aggies their first double-digit lead of the night at 36-25 just over a minute into the second half and an old-fashioned three-point play by Shaw later bumped the USU lead up to 50-31 with 12:38 left. Texas State whittled the deficit to 53-44 at the 9:45 mark on a three by Davis, but the Aggies regained control and that would be the closest the Bobcats would get. Later leading 58-46, a jumper by Butterfield sparked a 17-0 Aggie spurt to put the victory on ice, and Medlin, Roland and Jean all hit three-pointers during the spurt to give USU its largest lead of the game at 29 with a 75-46 lead with 3:39 to go and the Aggies coasted to the win.
Utah State continues a busy four-games in a week stretch by returning home to host another league newcomer, Seattle, on Thursday, Jan. 3 and old conference foe, Idaho, on Saturday, Jan. 5. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. tip-offs at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.