SEATTLE (ABC 4 Sports) - A dominating defense and rebounding effort combined with a balanced offense was the recipe for success for Utah State in a 68-46 win over Seattle at the Key Arena Saturday night in Western Athletic Conference men's basketball action.
The 46 points was a USU opponent season-low and the Aggies' defense limited the Redhawks to just 31.0 field goal percent, also a season-low for the Utah State defense in winning its second game on the road trip to improve to 16-5 overall and 7-4 in WAC play. Seattle dropped to 7-14 overall and 2-9 in league action. Utah State won in Seattle for the first time since 1975, snapping a two-game losing streak to the Redhawks in the Emerald City, as the Aggies now lead the all-time series, 17-14, after sweeping the season meetings, but Seattle still holds a 10-5 advantage on its home court.
Junior center Jarred Shaw tallied a game-high 16 points while junior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield registered a double-double for the fourth-straight game with a game-best 11 rebounds to go with 13 points. Junior guard TeNale Roland netted a career-high 12 points off the bench while freshman guard Marcel Davis posted 11 points.
Sophomore forward Ben Clifford snared a career-high 10 rebounds, helping USU to a dominating, 44-25, rebounding advantage, as Shaw added seven and sophomore center Matt Lopez logged a career-best five boards. Junior guard/forward Marvin Jean led the USU defense with a career-high four steals, and added a career-high tying four assists on offense, sharing team-high honors with Roland.
Seattle was led by 10 points Chad Rasmussen's 10 points while reserve Jarell Flora tallied eight points. T.J. Diop led the Redhawks with six rebounds.
Utah State shot 47.2 percent (25-of-53) from the floor, netting 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) behind the arc and 11-of-13 (84.6 percent) at the free throw line. The Aggie defense limited Seattle to 31.0 percent (18-of-58) field goal shooting, hitting just 2-of-20 (10.0 percent) from distance while making 80.0 percent (8-of-10) at the charity stripe.
The 31.0 field goal percentage and 10.0 three-point field goal percentage by Seattle were also season-lows for the Aggie defense, while the 18 field goals ties a season-low for the second time and the two three-pointers allowed ties a season-low for the third time this season.
Holding a 12-11 lead, USU went on a 10-2 run, to open a 22-13 advantage after a Shaw layup at the 7:10 mark. Seattle got within 22-17 with 4:54 left in the half on a jumper by Prince Obasi, but the Aggies closed out the half with eight of the next 10 points, getting a runner by Butterfield with seven seconds to go and then Jean blocked a three-point attempt by Obasi at the buzzer.
Seattle sliced the gap to 36-26 with 14:48 on the second half clock after a pair of free pitch shots by Rassmussen, but that would be the closest the Redhawks would get. A trey by Butterfield and then back-to-back buckets by Shaw gave Utah State its first 20-point lead of the night at 53-33 with 8:05 left. Two Davis free throws gave the Aggies their largest lead of the night at 64-40 at the 2:43 mark and Utah State secured the win.
After this weekend's road trip, USU wraps up its three-game road swing at San Jose State on Friday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. (MT).
The Aggies then return home to host Denver on Thursday, Feb. 14 and New Mexico State on Saturday, Feb. 16. Both games tip at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.