21 Ags fall to Boise State
By Tim Olsen
February 16, 2009 | Utah State had a chance to lock
up its first-ever outright regular season WAC title
Saturday night, but Boise State had other plans.
The Broncos used an inspired second half performance
to ignite their crowd and propel their team to a 66-56
upset of first place and No. 21 Utah State.
"I thought we might get beat sometime," USU head coach
Stew Morrill said. "But I didn't see it coming."
Things started out well for the Aggies as they jumped
out to a five-point lead 10 minutes into the game on
jumper by Gary Wilkinson. Shortly after that though,
the Ags took a blow when Tai Wesley was whistled for
his third personal foul.
"The first half I got frazzled, I played four minutes
and had three fouls," Wesley said. "That kind of just
took me right out of the game and it was kind of hard
for me to find a rhythm the whole second half because
Wilkinson got into some foul trouble early as well,
causing both Aggie big men to head to the bench. Nonetheless,
USU was able to stay even with the Broncos and looked
to be heading into the locker room with a lead until
Boise State's Anthony Thomas hit a 3-pointer just before
the buzzer to put the Broncos up 27-25 at the half.
As a team the Aggies, who have been leading the nation
in shooting percentage, shot just 42 percent in the
first half, including just 33 percent from beyond the
arc. More telling though was the fact that the Aggies
who normally make their living at the free throw line
only made one trip in the first half.
USU has seemingly owned its opponents in the second
half of games this season. So, despite their first half
struggles, the Aggies felt good going into the second
However, this second half had a different script.
Boise State used five of the Aggies 19 turnovers to
go on a 14-4 run and break the game open at 41-29 just
six minutes in to the second period.
The run was spurred by Thomas who continued his hot
shooting from 3-point land, knocking down two 3's during
the stretch, He finished with 18 points and a game high
three steals. Mark Sanchez who pumped in 20 points on
8-of-12 shooting led all scorers.
Despite finding themselves in the biggest hole of
the season, the Aggies weren't about to throw in the
towel. A 3-pointer by Jaxon Myaer with 10:50 to play
cut the lead to five, and a Brady Jardine layup off
of a Wesley missed free-throw pulled USU within six,
but each run was thwarted by turnovers and poor execution.
The Aggies, who had been so solid in the second half
of games all season, only managed to shoot 31 percent
in the final period and finished with a season low 36.5
percent from the field. The loss was the Ags first in
Wilkinson and Jared Quayle each scored 12 points to
lead the Aggies while sophomore Pooh Williams finished
with 10 points all in the first half as he kept
the Aggies in the game.
USU will return to action on Wednesday when they play
host to CS Fullerton, and then will head to St. Mary's
for an ESPN BracketBuster matchup on Saturday. The Aggies
will have another opportunity to wrap up the regular
season WAC title at home on Feb. 26 against Hawaii.
"Our main focus is to win the WAC," Tyler Newbold
said. "We need to get ready to practice and get ready
for these two games and get better so that we can have
a chance to come back and win the WAC outright.