Aggies’ 33-Game Home Court Win Streak Halted
LOGAN, Utah – Utah State men’s basketball’s 33-game home winning streak came to a halt with a 67-54 loss to Denver Wednesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Pioneers shot a scorching 52.1 percent from the field for the game in dealing the Aggies their first home loss since Dec. 5, 2009, breaking USU’s 33-game home win streak which was the third-longest in the country entering Wednesday. The 33-game win streak was the second-longest in school history behind the 37-straight victory streak that was snapped by St. Mary’s in that Dec. 5, 2009 game. USU has won 85 of its last 88 home games and is now 195-14 at home under head coach Stew Morrill.
Utah State evened its record at 3-3 on the season while Denver, who will be joining the Western Athletic Conference next year, improved to 5-1 with the win.
DU was 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) in the first half, hitting 5-of-11 three-pointers, in taking a 34-29 lead. The Pioneers led by 17 at 31-14 with 5:17 remaining until halftime, before the Aggies closed out the half on a 15-3 run, sparked by freshman center Jordan Stone and senior guard Brockeith Pane, to close to 34-29 at the break.
Denver opened the second stanza with a 12-2 run to open a 46-31 lead with 15:33 to go on a three-pointer by Brett Olson from the left wing. USU got within 53-43 with 9:24 left on a layup by sophomore guard Mitch Brunel, but the Aggies couldn’t get any closer. The Pioneers took their biggest lead of the game at 65-45 with 2:31 remaining on a dunk by Chris Udofia, for DU’s first win over USU since 1974, snapping the Aggies’ nine game win streak in the series.
Udofia and Rob Lewis led Denver and shared game-high honors with 15 points apiece while Brian Stafford added 12 points and Chase Hallam tossed in 11. Udofia snared a team-high six rebounds.
Sophomore guard Preston Medlin led Utah State with 13 points, hitting the Aggies’ only two three-pointers of the night. Pane scored 12 points and senior forward Morgan Grim added 11 points to go with a game-high eight rebounds, helping USU to a 27-22 rebounding edge. Pane has scored in double-digits in all six of the Aggies’ games this season and his last nine games played dating back to last season, while Grim has tallied double-figures the last three in a row and four of the last five.
DU shot 52.1 percent (25-of-48) from the field, finishing with 8-of-20 (40.0 percent) from three-point range. The Pioneers hit 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) at the free throw line. USU made 19-of-41 (46.3 percent) of its field goal shots, making 2-of-4 (50.0 percent) behind the arc and the Aggies were 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Pioneers hit nine of their first 11 shots, in turning a 4-2 USU lead after a pair of Pane free pitch shots, into a 23-12 lead, as Justin Coughlin hit a layup. DU stretched its advantage to 31-14 on a layup by Blake Foeman, with 5:17 on the first half clock. Stone then scored four straight points and Medlin hit a three-pointer from the left wing with just under four minutes to go. After a three-pointer by Hallam from the left corner, junior forward Kyisean Reed hit a layup, then Pane netted a runner to cut the gap to single-digits at 34-25 with 2:29 to play. Stone hit a pair of free throws with 1:53 and got the rebound on the defensive end and quickly dished to Pane, who drove the length of the court and hit a layup with 1:15 left to pull USU within 34-29, but the Aggies couldn’t get any closer in the second half.
It was USU’s worst home loss since a 75-57 home loss to Nevada on Feb. 25, 2006. Wednesday’s loss also snapped the Aggies’ 17-game home non-conference game win streak snapped.
Utah State still holds the series lead, 54-35, as the USU-DU series is the fourth-oldest rivalry in school history, first meeting during the 1922-23 season. The Aggies had won five straight over the Pioneers in meetings played in Logan, and USU now leads the series in Logan, 19-4.
The Aggies hit the road, heading to Stockton, Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 3 to face former Big West Conference foe, Pacific. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (MT).
USU returns home to host Utah Valley on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. (MT) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
To purchase tickets, or for more Aggie basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or on-line 24 hours a day at www.utahstateaggies.com by clicking on the “tickets” button.
Fans can follow the Aggie basketball program at twitter.com/Aggiehoops or on the USU men’s basketball blog at usubasketball.blogspot.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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