LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Junior guard Preston Medlin scored a season-high 25 points, including 16 in the second half, to lead Utah State past San Jose State, 66-60, in a Western Athletic Conference men's basketball match-up inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Friday night.
For Medlin, it is the fifth time in his last seven games and 19th time in his career he has scored 20-plus points as he was 6-of-12 from the field, 2-of-6 from three-point range and a perfect 11-for-11 at the free throw line, tying the single-game school record for free throw percentage. Medlin also added five assists in the game.
With the win, Utah State improves to 14-1 on the season and remains in first-place in the WAC with a 5-0 mark. Overall, USU has now won 13-straight games to rank tied for the sixth-longest winning streak in school history, including the sixth-longest under veteran head coach Stew Morrill. USU also improved to 10-1 at home this year and is now 220-19 at home in 15 years under Morrill. In WAC play, Utah State has now won 42 of its last 48 games overall.
San Jose State, who falls to 9-7 on the season and 3-2 in WAC play with the loss, was led by D.J. Brown’s 16 points. Chris Cunningham added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Xavier Jones finished with 14 points.
Friday night was USU's 22nd home win in a row over SJSU, including the last 11 in a row overall to improve to 50-21 all-time against the Spartans.
Junior center Jarred Shaw notched his sixth double-double of the season and second in a row for Utah State with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while junior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield had 13 points. Senior forward Kyisean Reed also scored in double-figures for USU as he finished the game with 10 points, eight rebounds and a career-high tying four blocked shots.
Utah State finished the game shooting just 47.7 percent (21-44), including 33.3 percent from three-point range (4-12), and 80.0 percent at the free throw line (20-25). San Jose State shot 35.9 percent from the floor (23-64), 18.2 percent from three-point range (2-11) and 85.7 percent at the free throw line (12-14). USU also out-rebounded SJSU by one (33-32), and had three more assists (14-11) and four more blocked shots (5-1) in the game, but also committed seven more turnovers (13-6). The Spartans finished the game with a 32-22 advantage with points in the paint, a 12-2 advantage on points off turnovers and a 20-11 advantage in second-chance points.
Butterfield scored four quick points for Utah State to give the home team an early 6-2 advantage before San Jose State went on an 11-2 run to take its largest lead of the game at 13-8 with 12:51 to play in the half. USU answered with a 9-0 run to regain the lead at 17-13. SJSU than used a 6-1 run to take its final lead of the game at 19-18 with 8:00 to play. Utah State later led by four points three separate times during the final 6:05 including at 27-23 with 3:35 to play. The Spartans scored the next four points to tie the game at 27-all before the Aggies scored the final points of the half on a Medlin jumper to take a 29-27 lead into intermission.
Utah State shot 46.2 percent from the field in the first half (12-26), including 33.3 percent from three (2-6) and 75.0 percent at the line (3-4), but committed nine turnovers as compared to just two for San Jose State, as the Spartans shot just 35.3 percent in the first 20 minutes (12-34), including just 1-of-6 from behind the arc (.167) and 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.
San Jose State got within one early on in the second half at 35-34 with 16:12 remaining only to see Utah State go on a 9-2 run to go up 44-36 with 11:26 to play. The Spartans got back within four at 49-45 at the 6:33 mark, but USU answered with a 5-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at 54-45 with 4:27 to play on a Butterfield three-pointer. From there, SJSU never got closer than five points as USU made all six of its free throws in the final 1:14 to post the 66-60 win.
Utah State returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 17 when it plays at New Mexico State.