LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Junior guard Preston Medlin scored a team-high 14 points and junior college transfer Spencer Butterfield added nine second-half points to help Utah State claw out a 56-48 home win against Idaho State here Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
With the win, Utah State improves to 14-1 in its first game of the year under head coach Stew Morrill, including an 8-0 record at home. Overall, USU has now won 18 of its last 19 season openers dating back to the 1993-94 campaign. USU also improved to 179-15 under Morrill when allowing less than 60 points in a game.
Utah State also notched its 14th-straight win against Idaho State as it improved to 36-13 all-time against the Bengals, including a 16-2 home record. Under Morrill, USU is now 54-9 against teams from the state of Idaho.
Medlin finished the night shooting 5-of-7 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range and 2-for-2 at the free throw, while Butterfield was 3-of-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Junior center Jarred Shaw added eight points and game-high nine rebounds for Utah State, while senior forward Kyisean Reed had seven points and five rebounds.
Melvin Morgan led all scorers with 19 points for Idaho State, as he was 7-of-17 shooting, including 2-of-6 from three-point range and 3-for-3 at the charity stripe.
Trailing 30-23 at intermission, Idaho State chipped away at the Aggie lead and tied the game at 37-all with 9:47 to play following a three-pointer from Nick Mason. USU then scored eight-straight points on back-to-back three’s from Butterfield and a layup by Medlin to take a 45-37 advantage with 6:25 to play. ISU cut the lead back to five on a Morgan trey, but the Aggies answered with a 7-0 run that included a pair of buckets by Shaw and Butterfield’s third three-pointer of the half to give the home team a 52-40 advantage with 2:06 to play and USU went on to post the eight-point win.
Utah State finished the game shooting 46.8 percent from the field (22-47), 42.9 percent from three-point range (6-14) and 60.0 percent at the free throw line (6-10). Idaho State shot 39.6 percent overall (19-48), including just 27.3 percent from behind the arc (6-22) and 57.1 percent at the line (4-7). USU also dominated the glass and out-rebounded ISU by 13 (36-13), while recording four more assists (15-11) and two more blocked shots (5-3). Idaho State did finish the game with three more steals (10-7) and five fewer turnovers (17-12).
Utah State will continue its four-game homestand to start the season by hosting West Coast Conference member Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.