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Being 15 points down, trailing with three seconds left in the game, and losing their leading scorer no obstacle was too great for the Utah State basketball team.
The Aggies found victory in thrilling fashion in their first road game of the season, topping Santa Clara 80-78 in overtime on Wednesday night.
It was a taut back-and-forth game that looked dangerous for Utah State as regulation ticked away. Center Jarred Shaw fouled out with a minute left after leading the Aggies in points and rebounds, and the Broncos had seized a late lead.
But Preston Medlin picked an opportune moment to hit his first 3-pointer of the game, knocking back the tying basket at 70-all with 2 seconds left. It was only the junior guard's second field goal of the night.
It gave the Aggies momentum, and they built a small lead on free throws and a key dunk by Kyisean Reed. Timely rebounds helped give Utah State the edge, and Santa Clara's Evan Roquemore came up a basket short of giving his team another chance.
Utah State got a chip-in effort from just about all of its players. Shaw led the team with 15 points and eight rebounds, despite an early exit. Medlin, Reed and Danny Berger each scored 11 points.
But the defense and tempo were the keys to giving the Aggies a chance at all after starting from behind. Santa Clara was held far below its season shooting averages, going only 42.1 percent from the field and making only 7 of 23 from 3-point range. Lethal scorers Kevin Foster and Roquemore had 27 and 23 points respectively for the Broncos, but Utah State clambered back by shooting 56 percent from the field and gaining a 32-24 rebounding advantage.
The win came despite a season-high 23 turnovers for Utah State.
The Aggies struggled playing their first minutes on the road this season, falling behind quickly to hot-shooting Santa Clara. Turnovers and cold shooting helped the Broncos whip up a 19-4 lead.
But Utah State clambered out of the deep hole as Santa Clara cooled from 3-point range. Shaw and Reed led a huge run as Utah turned the deficit into a 34-33 lead by halftime.
Utah State 80, Santa Clara 78 (OT)
UTAH ST. (4-1) • Clifford 0-2 0-1 0, Berger 3-10 3-4 11, Shaw 6-8 3-4 15, Medlin 3-6 3-3 11, Roland 3-6 2-2 9, Davis 3-6 2-2 8, Jean 1-1 0-0 2, Butterfield 3-3 1-2 9, Stone 1-1 2-2 4, Reed 5-7 1-3 11. Totals 28-50 17-23 80.
SANTA CLARA (5-1) • McArthur 1-2 1-2 3, Cowels III 1-6 0-0 2, Trasolini 2-6 3-6 7, Roquemore 7-13 7-9 23, Foster 9-23 4-5 27, Clark 1-1 1-2 3, Johnson 2-3 5-6 9, Clarke 0-0 0-0 0, Harrison 0-0 0-0 0, Garrett 0-0 0-0 0, Atanga 1-3 2-3 4. Totals 24-57 23-33 78. HalftimeUtah St. 34-33. End Of RegulationTied 70. 3-Point GoalsUtah St. 7-17 (Butterfield 2-2, Medlin 2-4, Berger 2-5, Roland 1-4, Davis 0-2), Santa Clara 7-23 (Foster 5-13, Roquemore 2-5, Trasolini 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Cowels III 0-3). Fouled OutClifford, Shaw. ReboundsUtah St. 37 (Shaw 8), Santa Clara 24 (Trasolini 7). AssistsUtah St. 17 (Medlin 5), Santa Clara 13 (Roquemore 9). Total FoulsUtah St. 22, Santa Clara 22. A1,442.