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Aggies hold off pesky Wildcats for first win



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OGDEN -- Utah State jumped out to a 15-point lead in the second half then held off a furious Weber State comeback as the Aggies beat the Wildcats 66-60 to win the season opener for both teams.

Tyler Newbold connected on 4 of 5 shots, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, to lead USU. Newbold's play was key as forward Tai Wesley got in foul trouble early and struggled to get into the flow of the game.

Weber State opened the game with a layup by Damian Lillard, but that 2-0 lead was the only one the Wildcats would have.

Newbold scored five straight points as the Aggies pulled ahead of the home team.

The game was a grind-it-out slugfest between the two schools, and that was especially indicative of the first half. The combination of this being the first real game and the two schools knowledge of each other's system created a low scoring affair.

Lillard led all scorers with 20 points on 47 percent shooting, but was only 1 of 5 from 3-point range.

Despite the slow first half, the Aggies headed into the locker room with some momentum as they scored the last four points of the period en route to a 28-21 halftime lead.

With Wesley in foul trouble, junior Nate Bendall took over in the post with an array of jump hooks and spin moves. He finished with 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting but got into foul trouble as well, fouling out with 5:12 remaining.

Aided by USU's traveling student body, nicknamed the Spectrum on Wheels, the Aggies used a 12-4 run to open the second half and build a 15-point lead.

USU would maintain a double-digit lead until there was just more than three minutes remaining.

Wesley fouled out with 1:10 left in the game, and the Wildcats were able to close the margin to as little as four, but it was too little too late.

Green knocked down four consecutive free throws and sophomore Brady Jardine broke open for a layup to put the Aggies up six for the final margin.

The Aggies will have no rest as they stay on the road and in the state as they take on rival Utah. The Utes lost their season opener to WAC foe Idaho, 94-87.

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