<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Utah State remains perfect in WAC play as the Aggies ruined Seattle University’s visit to the Spectrum with a 75-66 victory over the Redhawks. Senior forward Kyisean Reed led the Aggies with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while junior guard Preston Medlin added 18 points for USU. Seattle redshirt-freshman Deshaun Sunderhaus led all scorers with 23 points.
“We didn’t play great, we just did barely enough to win tonight,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “We made some big shots when we needed to.”
Reed picked up his second double-double of the season – the other coming against Nicholls State on Dec. 20 in the World Vision Challenge. The lone Aggie senior brought the crowd to its feet several times on the night with rim-rattling, highlight reel dunks. He also added a block and two steals to his stat line. Reed was 80 percent from the floor on 8-of-10 shooting and is averaging 60 percent on the season.
“I came out trying to get deflections and steals,” Reed said. “I think we came out and ended it pretty well. We picked it up and got opportunities on the break. Sometimes it has to go like that where offense doesn’t go right, but you have to keep playing defense. I just tried to pick it up on defense.”
USU led the Redhawks 34-28 after 20 minutes of play, as both teams relied heavily on one player throughout the first half. Reed led the Aggies with 13 points and Seattle’s Sunderhaus had 15 at the break – over half of his team’s total at that point in the contest. No other players had more than five points until the start of the second half.
“We didn’t play our best and they did a great job of masking defense and getting us confused on offense,” Reed said. “I give them credit for how they came in here and played the game.”
Utah State started the second half much like they ended the first, ice cold. The Aggies didn’t score a field goal until there was less than 12 minutes left in the game, a streak that lasted more than 10 minutes dating back to the last couple minutes of the first half. Seattle took advantage of the Aggie scoring drought and went on a 14-0 run to take a 37-34 lead, before Marcel Davis broke the drought and tied the game with a 3-pointer.
“We took care of the ball, but they really had us out of sorts at the start of the second half,” Morrill said. “They did a great job of switching their defenses. We’d get halfway into a man play and they’d go zone. I told (Seattle coach) Cameron (Dollar) after the game that they did a really nice job of causing problems for us.”
After battling to a one point deficit with just over five minutes to play, the Aggies’ Spencer Butterfield hit his only field goal of the night, draining a 3-point bucket to put USU up for good. After Butterfield’s long range jumper, Medlin and Davis added two more 3-pointers to bring the fans in the Spectrum to their feet and give USU a 61-56 lead with less than three minutes left in the game.
“It’s one of those games where a couple of guys made some big plays,” Morrill said. “Kyisean (Reed) obviously had a great night. He got some huge offensive rebounds. Spencer (Butterfield) and Marcel (Davis) each hit a big shot and all of a sudden we were up eight.”
Leading by as many as 12 with less than a minute left, Utah State made its free throws to keep the game out of reach of the Redhawks.
“We just have a group of winners,” Davis said. “We just find a way to win. That’s why we came here. Everyone wants to win, no matter if they are having an off night, the main goal is to win.”
USU (12-1, 3-0) continues WAC action when the Aggies host Idaho Saturday in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum at 7 p.m.
“We’ll take it and try and learn from it, see if we can get better,” Morrill said. “There were a lot of areas of concern, but you’ve got to win a game sometimes when you don’t play great.”