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Utah State wards off Roadrunners to advance in CollegeInsider.com tourney

By Doug Hoffman, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Mar. 15, 2012 at 2:35 a.m.



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LOGAN - Four players in double-digits paced Utah State men's basketball team to a 75-69 win over CSU Bakersfield Wednesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

The Aggies improved to 18-15 on the year and continued their 13th-straight postseason appearance and 30th overall appearance by moving on to the second round, where they will host a game Saturday night at 7 p.m. against an opponent to be announced later. Wednesday's victory snapped USU's 11-game postseason losing streak after dropping four NIT home games and seven straight NCAA Tournament games.

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The Roadrunners' season ends at 16-15. Wednesday was the seventh meeting between USU and CSUB, and Utah State has won all seven matchups. The Aggies also improve to 121-30 against teams from California in the last 13 years, including 69-7 at home.

Sophomore guard Preston Medlin led four Aggies in double-digits with 24 points, as well as dishing out six assists. Junior forward Kyisean Reed added 16 points to go with a game-high eight rebounds while the senior duo of guard Brockeith Pane and forward Morgan Grim tallied 15 points and six rebounds each. Reed and Grim both tied their career highs with three blocks each as USU matched its season high with seven rejections on the night.

Zach Lamb led the Roadrunners with 31 points, including 21 in the second half, while former USU player Tyrone White added 12 points, hitting four three-pointers. Rashad Savage led CSUB with five rebounds as the Aggies had a 36-32 rebounding edge over the Roadrunners. CSUB's reserves outscored the USU bench, 23-1.

USU netted half of its field goals (23-of-46), hitting just 3-of-15 (20.0 percent) behind the arc, and the Aggies were 26-of-36 (72.7 percent) at the free-throw line, hitting all eight of their free-throw attempts in the final minutes to secure the win.

CSUB shot 23-of-58 (39.7 percent) from the field, hitting 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) of its three-pointers, as White's four treys were joined by three from Lamb. The Roadrunners nearly matched the Aggies in free-throw percentage, hitting 72.7 percent (16-of-22) at the free-pitch stripe.

The Aggies took a 10-3 lead after an acrobatic tip-in putback by Reed at the 15:06 mark, but the Roadrunners rallied to knot the score at 12-all with 12:15 on the clock after a layup from Issiah Grayson. Leading 24-18, USU reeled off six-straight after a Medlin three-pointer and a three-point play by Grim for a 30-18 advantage with 4:43 left in the half. The Aggies went into halftime leading 37-25 as they improved to 14-2 when they have an intermission advantage.

With the scoreboard reading 46-34 in USU's favor, CSUB used three-pointers from White and buckets by Lamb for a 14-0 run to take its first lead of the night at 48-46 with 10:23 remaining. USU righted the ship by scoring 10 of the game's next 14 points to take a 56-50 lead with 7:53 left after a pair of Pane free pitches. The Aggies couldn't pull away but wouldn't let the Roadrunners get closer than two points, the last with 43.4 ticks. CSUB missed on two layups and the Aggies rebounded with Medlin and fellow sophomore guard Danny Berger hitting two free throws each to seal the victory.

Fans can get complete information on Saturday's game at www.UtahStateAggies.com, the official home of USU athletics.

To purchase Aggie basketball tickets, fans can contact the USU ticket office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU ticket office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com by clicking on the "tickets" button.

Fans can follow the Aggie basketball program at twitter.com/Aggiehoops or on the USU men's basketball blog at usubasketball.blogspot.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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Doug Hoffman

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