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(USU Photo) LOGAN -- The Utah State Aggies (5-3) started a new home game winning streak Saturday as they defeated the Utah Valley University Wolverines (4-5) in convincing fashion, 87-56.
After a disappointing loss one week ago against the St. Mary's Gaels, Aggie Head Coach Stew Morrill said his players were struggling to score and needed to find more ways to put the ball in the basket.
The Aggies seemed to find their scoring touch against the Wolverines as they hit 59.6 percent of their shots from the field and 13-of-21 for a 61.9 percent performance from beyond the 3-point arc.
Coach Morrill said UVU's defensive game plan to not guard the perimeter very hard allowed the Aggies to get a high number of open looks from behind the 3-point line.
"You have to take what the defense gives you," said Morrill. "I'm sure they saw we were struggling shooting the ball and that was their philosophy going into the game. With the amount of 3's we made that game plan back fired on them a little bit."
Aggie junior forward Pooh Williams led the Aggies with 15 points and hit 3-of-4 from the 3-point line. Four other Aggies scored in double figures and three other Aggies hit three treys. The Aggies also distributed the ball well dishing out 21 assists. Senior guard Jared Quayle and junior guard Tyler Newbold both recorded five assists.
The 13 three-pointers are tied for the second-most in school history, behind the USU record of 20 set in 2006. Utah State also scored 48 points in the first half, the most points scored in a half this season.
"It was nice to see some shots fall; nice to see us play good offense; nice to have the perimeter guys make a bunch of 3's. I think that's great for their confidence," said Coach Morrill.
Jared Quayle and Brian Green both scored 13 points. Nate Bendall added 12. Newbold scored 11 points on the night hitting 3-of-5 from the 3-point line and seemed to gain some confidence in his shot after a rough start to the season.
"When you get open shots you gotta knock them down. In the games previous to this I have had open looks like that, but for some reason they wouldn't go down," said Newbold ,"My shots were falling tonight and it feels good when that happens."
UVU led by one point with a little over two minutes into the game; then the Aggies responded with 22-4 to take a commanding lead. UVU junior guard Corey Claitt came off the bench to provide the Wolverines an offensive spark scoring 11 points in the final 1:16 of the first half.
Claitt finished with 22 points and hit 9-of-10 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from the 3-point line, but was the only Wolverine to score in double digits. The Aggie defense held senior center Justin Baker and senior guard Jordan Swarbrick, who had led the team in scoring, to six points each on the night.
"It was a good solid win. At times we played pretty dang well," said Morrill who won't let the victory go to his teams' head. "We'll see where that takes us. There's a lot of basketball still to be played."
USU improved to 5-0 all-time vs. UVU, including 3-0 in Logan. Saturday's 31-point margin was USU's largest in the series.
The Aggies head on a two-game west coast road trip against Cal State Bakersfield and Long Beach State next week. The Aggies are 1-2 on the road so far and have lost both games by a combined total of four points.
The Aggies play Cal State Bakersfield Wednesday, Dec. 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.