The victory ends a 5-game losing streak, Utah State's longest slide since 1993.
Jarred Shaw scored 17 and had 13 rebounds for the Aggies (13-9, 3-7 Mountain West Conference). Preston Medlin added 14, all in the second half, and Kyle Davis had 12. The Wolf Pack (12-11, 7-3 MWC) were led by Deonte Burton with 23 points and Cole Huff with 21.
“Under the circumstances, I have to be really proud of our team for rallying this week," said head coach Stew Morrill, who had never lost five in a row in 28 years as a head coach. "It’s hard when you’re 2-7 in league play and you just got your tail kicked a number of times. We had really good practices. We talked about having some energy and not just cashing it in."
A 3-point shot by Jerry Evans brought Nevada to within two points, 52-50, with 9:10 to play, but 3-point shots by Medlin and Butterfield helped Utah State stretch to 72-60 with 2:55 remaining, and USU hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final minutes to seal the win.
“This is a monkey off the back right there," said Butterfield. "We definitely needed this win as a team. We just wanted to come out, starting at Monday’s practice, wanting to start fresh for the second half of league.”
USU shot 61.5 percent from the field in the second half, while Nevada was held to 44 percent. The Wolf Pack were only 5-of-20 from 3-point range.
The Aggies next host Boise State Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.