Utah State's 17-point run in second half puts game out of reach.
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Just when it appeared Texas State could make the second half the least bit competitive, Utah State ran wild for four straight minutes.
Starting with a jumper from Spencer Butterfield, the Aggies fired from all sides: raining 3-pointers from the perimeter and going to the bucket for layups. And after the 17-0 run, it was all over as the Aggies cruised to an 81-57 win over the Bobcats in their second Western Athletic Conference road game on Monday afternoon in San Marcos, Texas.
In the new year, Utah State (11-1, 2-0) hopes to play with that energy in every game.
"We played good," coach Stew Morrill said. "We answered a run they had, and we attacked instead of being tentative."
It was another strong day for the Aggies' wings, Preston Medlin and Butterfield. Medlin had an early tear for a team-high 21 points, and Butterfield chipped in a career-high 18. The guards struggled with turnovers early, giving up 11 in the first half, but cleaned up their act as they adjusted to Texas State's pressure defense.
Butterfield, the junior transfer who took over Danny Berger's starting spot, helped lead the second-half barrage. His jumper was the spark, but he also dished out nine assists, with several during the run that put Utah State up for good.
Jarred Shaw also had a strong game, working his inside presence for 17 points. Perhaps more importantly, the frontcourt as a unit held the Bobcats' two top scorers to 13 combined points. The Aggies owned the paint, outrebounding Texas State (4-10, 0-2) by nine boards.
"We just gritted it out," Shaw said. "We knew they couldn't pressure the whole game. If we make baskets, the pressure will back off. And we did that in the second half."
Utah State led by eight at halftime despite a less-than-ideal shooting performance. Medlin carried the banner for the Aggies, starting out with a red-hot 13 points in the first half.
Although Utah State shot under 40 percent from the floor in the first half, Texas State shot worse. For the game, the Bobcats couldn't hit from outside, going a meager 5-for-22. Wesley Davis, who was 10-for-12 on the night, had much success with the rock in his hands: The rest of his team was 12-for-47.
The Aggies wrapped up their first multi-game road trip of the year with two WAC wins in Texas. But at home, Utah State faces Seattle and Idaho to close the week a stretch of four games in eight days.
O The Aggies score 17 unanswered points to earn a comfortable win at Texas State
• Spencer Butterfield sets career-bests in points (18) and assists (9)
• Preston Medlin scores 21 points to lead the team
Utah State 81, Texas State 57
UTAH ST. (11-1) • Shaw 7-9 3-5 17, Reed 3-6 0-0 6, Davis 1-4 0-0 2, Medlin 7-15 2-3 21, Butterfield 6-11 3-4 18, Clifford 0-1 1-2 1, Lopez 2-4 0-0 4, Jean 2-3 1-2 6, Roland 2-3 0-0 6, Stone 0-2 0-0 0. Totals • 30-58 10-16 81.
TEXAS ST. (4-10) • Koenen 0-1 0-0 0, Staff 1-9 0-1 2, Wright 3-11 5-5 11, Hawkins 2-8 3-5 8, Davis 10-12 0-1 22, T. Jones 0-3 0-0 0, Dorsey 0-0 0-0 0, Stern 0-3 0-0 0, Tanton 0-0 0-0 0, Richardson 0-0 0-0 0, Nwankwo 0-0 0-0 0, Brown II 0-0 0-0 0, D. Jones 4-8 0-0 10, Hinton 2-4 0-0 4. Totals • 22-59 8-12 57.
HalftimeUtah St. 31-23. 3-Point GoalsUtah St. 11-26 (Medlin 5-10, Butterfield 3-8, Roland 2-3, Jean 1-2, Davis 0-3), Texas St. 5-22 (Davis 2-2, D. Jones 2-5, Hawkins 1-4, Wright 0-1, Stern 0-2, Hinton 0-2, T. Jones 0-3, Staff 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsUtah St. 40 (Butterfield, Medlin, Reed 6), Texas St. 32 (Staff, Wright 9). AssistsUtah St. 21 (Butterfield 9), Texas St. 8 (Hawkins, T. Jones, Wright 2). Total FoulsUtah St. 17, Texas St. 14. A1,165.