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LOGAN — Sporting events between in-state opponents are always a battle, and on Wednesday night in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum it was no different. Weber State and Utah State have met 68 times, with the Aggies owning a 42-26 record over the Wildcats, including a 25-8 mark at the Spectrum in Logan. Weber State also hasn't won in Logan since December 1993.
However, Weber State senior guard Jeremy Senglin scored a game-high 22 points, and the Wlldcats earned a 77-71 win over Utah State in Logan for the first time in 23 years. Three other Wildcats scored in double figures. Jerrick Harding finished with 14, Kyndahl Hill had 11 and Ryan Richardson finished with 10 to help a balanced Wildcat attack.
"I thought our team played really tough and wore them (Utah State) down," Weber State head coach Randy Rahe said. "Our guys didn't flinch when Utah State went up by two after we had been leading the whole way. We got some big stops at the end of the game, and I'm really proud of our kids. We could've folded there at the end when Utah State made a push, but our guys played tough.”
Jalen Moore scored a team-high 18 points for USU. Koby McEwen and Sam Merrill were the only other Aggies to finish in double-digits with 15 and 10 points, respectively. McEwen and Moore also tied for the team-high in rebounds with five while Merrill had a team-high six assists.
Following two free throws by Merrill and a layup by McEwen that gave USU a 67-66 lead with 2:55 to play, the Aggies went ice cold. The only points USU scored down the stretch were from the free-throw line. Shane Rector hit two from the charity stripe to cut the Weber State lead to four with 1:37 to play, and Quinn Taylor hit two more with 58 seconds to play to cut it to two.
Weber State, despite Senglin fouling out with 35 seconds to play, hit four of six free throws in the final minute to seal its second straight win over an in-state opponent. The Wildcats beat Utah Valley 93-85 on Saturday.
"It was a pretty well-played college basketball game," USU head coach Tim Duryea said. "The difference was, at winning time late when it was a one-possession game either way, I thought they made some shots. We made some big mistakes. It came down to that. I told our guys 'our defense let us down a little bit.' Not in terms of effort, we had a lot of good defensive possessions but didn't take away what we were trying to take away."
USU finishes its non-conference slate at 6-6 while Weber State finishes its nonconference slate at 5-6.
"That's the whole point of the non-conference schedule, to play good teams that are going to help you going into conference play," USU senior wing Jalen Moore said. "We played good teams in Cancun, then Weber State, BYU and UVU. Good teams like that get you ready for the teams that we will play in conference. We play tougher teams. When conference comes around, you are playing tough teams again, and you already know what you need to do. It helps us for conference play."
Utah State opens up the Mountain West Conference slate by hosting Boise State on Wednesday, Dec. 28, while Weber State travels to open Big Sky Conference play at Montana State on Thursday, Dec. 29.
Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs and the Utah Valley University Wolverines. He is a communication major at UVU and will graduate in the spring of 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias