overcome miracle shot at Fresno to keep winning streak
By Tim Olsen
February 2, 2009 | For the second time this season,
the Fresno State Bulldogs took the league-leading Utah
State Aggies to the wire. The Aggies learned a lot about
themselves and their resilience in an incredible 83-77
overtime win on Fresno's home court.
The Aggies also learned that when playing Fresno State,
they can't leave any time on the clock for the Bulldogs
just ask the football team.
Holding on to a one-point lead, USU's Jared Quayle
was fouled with 0.6 seconds to play. He made both free-throws
to give the Ags what looked to be a safe three-point
lead with so little time left on the clock.
Enter Sylvester Seay, Fresno State's athletic forward
who gave the Aggies fits in Logan. Seay subsequently
caught and let fly a 65-foot heave as the buzzer sounded.
Incredibly, the shot found its mark and rattled home,
tying the game at 72 -- and sending it to overtime.
"A lot of teams in those circumstances would've been
done," USU head coach Stew Morrill said in a postgame
radio interview. "I couldn't be prouder of the composure
and the toughness . . . we keep finding a way to win
The victory left USU at 21-1, their best start in history.
Despite the huge momentum boost the miracle shot gave
the home team, the unflappable Aggies scored the first
five points of the overtime period. Led by senior Gary
Wilkinson's career-high 33 points and sophomore Tyler
Newbolds lone basket of the game a three-pointer with
1:32 to play the streaking Aggies held off the Bulldogs.
"That's what this team is, is a solid team, and I
think that we're all in it to win it, and we're in it
together," Wilkinson said in a postgame radio interview.
"I think that shows a lot for us as a team . . . we
just pulled it together and did what we've done all
year and found a way to win."
Wilkinson had another huge night on the road for USU,
going 14-of-17 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the charity
stripe. He hit his first seven shots in the game, and
had nearly half of the Aggies' points in the first half.
"Our post guys were unbelievable at the start of the
game . . . just a great win for the Aggies," Morrill
Unlike the first game of the season, the Aggies led
for most of the first half as they shot 61.5 percent
in the opening period. Despite that hot start, the Ags
could not pull away from the Bulldogs, but a three-pointer
by Quayle just 25 seconds before the half gave USU a
little breathing room and sent them into the locker
room up 33-29.
Coming out of the locker room, the Ags again pounded
it inside. Sophomore Tai Wesley hit a jumper and then
found Wilkinson for a dunk that extended the Aggie lead
Fresno State would cut the lead right back to one,
but again the Aggies would extend it, eventually opening
up their biggest lead of the game, 46-38, on a Wesley
layup with 12:44 to play.
The Bulldogs got a big momentum boost a short time
later as Wesley was whistled back-to-back on two questionable
calls. All of the sudden he found himself with four
fouls and had to head to the bench with 9:32 left in
With Wesley on the bench, the Bulldogs battled back
and tied the game at 62 on a layup by Seay with less
than three minutes to play. From that point the game
was back and forth.
Trailing with only 28.7 seconds left and needing to
force a turnover, Fresno State was pressuring the Aggies
when Wesley and Wilkinson combined for what may have
been the play of the game.
Wilkinson sneaked behind the defense and Wesley, doing
his best Peyton Manning impression, lobbed it to the
streaking redhead who slammed it home for a dunk. The
Bulldogs' Paul George made a layup with 2.6 seconds
to play, cutting the lead to one, and setting up the
final series of events.
Quayle finished the game with 18 points eight rebounds
and five steals for the Ags, while Wesley continued
his streak of good play by chipping in 16 points on
After a wacky week of travel, USU will now return
to the Spectrum, where the Aggies look to keep their
many streaks alive against New Mexico State and Louisiana
"We've just got to take a win like this, enjoy it,
and focus on what we've got to do better," Wilkinson