Utah State beats Fresno State 72-53 in WAC opener

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Preston Medlin scored 19 points to lead Utah State past Fresno State 72-53 Thursday night in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams.Kyisean Reed added 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for the Aggies (9-6). Morgan Grim scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Utah State.Jonathan Wills led the Bulldogs (7-9) with 16 points. Jerry Brown scored 14 and Kevin Olekaibe had 11 points for Fresno State.Utah State broke Fresno State’s press for several breakaway layups and held Olekaibe scoreless in the second half to keep the game out of reach. Olekaibe came into the game as the WAC’s leading scorer with 18.7 points per game.USU shot 65 percent from the field in the game, 70 percent in the first half, while the Bulldogs shot 38 percent for the game.Utah State led 46-27, their largest lead before the closing seconds, following a layup by Mitch Bruneel with 15:03 to play. Fresno State then employed a full-court press and zone defense to slow the Aggies and brought the score to 52-41 with 9:30 to play, which included a 7-1 runUSU had a 13-0 run midway through the first half, including two technical foul shots, to take a 23-12 lead. Fresno led early behind hot shooting by Olekaibe, who scored eight of the Bulldogs’ first 12 points.Medlin’s pair of 3-pointers and a dunk at the buzzer from Reed pushed the Aggies to a 37-24 halftime lead.Fresno State was the last WAC team to come into the Spectrum and win, in the season finale in 2007. They are also the only WAC team to sweep Utah State since it joined the conference.It was the 50th overall meeting between the Aggies and Bulldogs, with Utah State leading the series 30-19. Fresno State is set to join the Mountain West Conference next season.

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