Aggies earn first road win since November, beat CSU 71-62

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (ABC 4 Sports) - Preston Medlin scored 18 points as Utah State notched its first conference road win of the season, beating Colorado State, 71-62.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (ABC 4 Sports) - Utah State men's basketball earned its first Mountain West road win of the season with a 71-62 victory at Colorado State Tuesday night at CSU's Moby Arena, in Aggie head coach Stew Morrill's first return to CSU as head coach of USU after coaching at CSU from 1992-98 before taking over the USU program.

The win was also the Aggies' third in a row, improving to 15-9 overall and 5-7 in MW action, including now 1-5 in road league games. The Rams slid to 15-11 overall and 5-7 in league play. Tuesday was the 89th all-time meeting between CSU and USU, which is Utah State's fifth-oldest rivalry in school history. The Aggies now hold a 54-35 series advantage. USU is now 6-17 in known games played at Fort Collins, after Tuesday’s win snapped a four-game losing streak there, as the Aggies’ previous win at CSU was on Jan. 14, 1976, 72-62.

Senior guard Preston Medlin netted a team-high 18 points to go with five assists, while senior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield tallied 14 points, adding eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Kyle Davis logged 12 points, while senior center Jarred Shaw snared a game-high 10 rebounds to go with eight points.

With his first three-pointer of the game at 17:31, Medlin became fifth Aggie player w/ 200 career three-pointers, joining Jaycee Carroll, Tony Brown, Reid Newey & Jay Goodman. Medlin’s 18 points Tuesday move him up to No. 16 on USU’s career scoring list, now w/ 1,293 career points. Medlin started the night at No. 19 with 1,275 points, passing Spencer Nelson (1999, 2003-05) with 1,283 points for No. 18, Shaler Halimon (1967-68) with 1,284 points for No. 17 and Mike Santos (1975-78) with 1,287 points.

Butterfield’s two three-pointers Tuesday give him 100 for his career, becoming the 12th Aggie player with 100 career three-pointers.

Colorado State was led by 22 points by Jon Octeus, while Daniel Bejarano tallied 21 points and J.J. Avila added 14 points. Bejarano led CSU with six rebounds.

The Aggies had a 40-27 rebounding advantage Tuesday, for its fourth rebounding advantage in a row and second double-digit in the last three. In addition to Shaw and Butterfield's rebounding, Davis added five rebounds, matched by junior center Jordan Stone with five boards. Sophomore guard Marcel Davis added four rebounds, to go with five points and a game-high six assists.

Utah State's bench posted a 13-1 advantage over its counterparts, posting a season-low by the opponent's bench for the second game in a row after Boise State's bench had just three points on Feb. 8.

USU shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) from the field Tuesday, including 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from three-point range, as well as season-high 94.1 percent (16-of-17) at the free throw line. The Aggies made their first 13 free throws, before missing their first with 35 seconds left, then hitting their final three. Utah State's 94.1 percent free throw shooting was its best since a perfect 100 percent (10-of-10) against Fresno State on Jan. 15, 2009.

The Aggie defense limited the Rams to 29.8 percent (17-of-57) field goal shooting, including 17.2 percent (5-of-29) in the first half. The 29.8 percent was USU's lowest percentage by an opponent during MW play and its second-lowest of the season. CSU was also 16.7 percent (3-of-18) from three-point range, also the Aggies' lowest by an opponent during league action and the sixth game holding the opposition to less than 20 percent from behind the arc. Colorado State was 25-of-28 (89.3 percent) as the 25 made free throws and the 89.3 percent are season-highs for USU opponents.

Utah State jumped out to an 8-2 lead after Medlin's milestone three-pointer with 17:31, forcing a quick CSU timeout. The Aggie advantage grew to 19-8 at the 6:15 mark after a three-pointer from the left wing by freshman guard JoJo McGlaston, and hit its largest of the first halt at 25-10 following a Butterfield trey. Kyle Davis later hit a runner that fell through the net as the first half horn sounded, sending USU into halftime with a 29-15 lead. The Aggies are now 13-1 this season when leading at the half, and have won 97 of their last 100 games when leading at the break.

Freshman forward Jalen Moore hit a pair of free throws at the 12:18 point for USU's first 18-point lead of the night, its largest of the game, at 43-25. The Aggie advantage remained at double-digits for the majority of the rest of the game, as they withstood a frantic Rams' rally, including whittling the gap to its final score of the night at 71-62 after a three-pointer by Bejarano.

USU returns home to host UNLV on Saturday, Feb. 15 in another Saturday afternoon contest, as the battle between the Aggies and Rebels will tip-off at 2 p.m.
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