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Las Vegas • Luck of the draw gave Spencer Butterfield one shot. Then Utah State chose him for two more.
It's hard to say who else they'd rather have take them.
On a team that has lacked consistency this year, Butterfield has been a constant. His numbers aren't always great, but his effort is. And when the Aggies need him, he has a way of stepping up into those big moments.
He may never have bigger moments in his career than the 3-pointer he made with 42 seconds left, followed by the go-ahead free throws on the technical foul that put Utah State up for good.
"Spencer has made big shots for us his whole career," coach Stew Morrill said. "If you've got a shot that's a big shot in a game, he's a guy you want shooting it."
What happened on the court was a good enough story, but just 20 minutes before, the Aggies had been trying to figure out if he could play the rest of the game. His hip locked up, and there was a worry that he wouldn't be able to play out the contest.
JoJo McGlaston started the half in his place, but he was back within minutes. He managed to make it through long enough to help Utah State lock up its memorable finish.
"It was just a lot of emotion at the end of the game," he said. "You know you've got to make certain plays to be in the game."
Butterfield was the most prominent of Utah State's leaders, but he was not the only one. Preston Medlin came back from a mid-game cold patch to finish with 11 second-half points, driving in the lane to help a stagnant Aggies offense. TeNale Roland had one of the best games of his career, chipping in 14 points including four 3-pointers that helped add momentum throughout the game.
Perhaps the most unexpected clutch performance came from freshman Jalen Moore, who came up with a 3-pointer and a steal that gave Butterfield a chance for his heroics. In his first Mountain West tournament game, Moore had the poise of a veteran.
"Those were huge plays: I feel like without those plays, we wouldn't have won," Medlin said of Moore. "That carries over to everybody on the team when a guy is hustling and rebounding, a guy still believes. He did that for us tonight."
Aggies' big performers
Spencer Butterfield • Scored nine of final 11 points, 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Jalen Moore • 3-pointer with 48 seconds left, two last-minutes steals and two free throws.
TeNale Roland • Four 3-pointers in the game, layup and assist to begin 16-3 rally.
Preston Medlin • 11 second-half points, all in final 13 minutes. Mountain West Tournament
Note • All games on CBS Sports Network, unless otherwise noted.
• No. 8 Utah State 73, No. 9 Colorado State 69
• No. 7 Fresno State 61, No. 10 Air Force 59
• No. 6 Boise State 83, No. 11 San Jose State 52
• No. 1 San Diego State vs. No. 8 Utah State, 1 p.m.
• No. 4 UNLV vs. No. 5 Wyoming, 3:30 p.m.
• No. 2 New Mexico vs. No. 7 Fresno State, 7 p.m.
• No. 3 Nevada vs. No. 6 Boise State, 9:30 p.m.
• SDSU-USU winner vs. UNLV-Wyoming winner, 7 p.m.
• N.M.-Fresno winner vs. Nevada-Boise State winner, 9:30 p.m.
• Semifinal winners, 4 p.m., Ch. 2