Butterfield boosts Aggies past Gouchos 77-71 in OT

LOGAN, Utah — Spencer Butterfield’s career-high 31 points as part of a double-double to propel Utah State men’s basketball to a thrilling 77-71 overtime win over UC Santa Barbara Friday night in the Basketball Travelers, Inc., Classic sponsored by Gossner Foods, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

USU rallied from down, 60-52, with four minutes left in regulation to force overtime, using an 11-2 run, getting a three-pointer from senior guard Preston Medlin, then seven-straight points from senior guard/forward Butterfield, capped by a steal and layup to tie the game at 62-all with 1:44 left. Later sophomore guard Marcel Davis hit 1-of-2 free throws with 44.2 seconds left for a 63-62 Aggie advantage, but UCSB’s Kyle Boswell netted his seventh and final three-pointer of the night with 21.7 seconds left from the left corner for a 65-63 Gaucho lead.

After a timeout on USU’s ensuing possession, Medlin drove the lane and got a shot off, but it rolled off the rim to an open area that sophomore forward Kyle Davis got his hand to and tipped the ball over the rim and through the net with four seconds left to tie the score at 65-65. UCSB’s Zalmico Harmon got a long shot off before the buzzer, but it was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra session, the Gauchos took a 68-66 lead after a layup by Alan Williams, followed by a Boswell free throw with 3:54 to go. That would be the visitor’s final lead of the night, as Butterfield buried a three-pointer from just to the right of the top of the arc for a 69-68 advantage with 2:39 left. After a USU defensive stop, freshman forward Jalen Moore had a slashing baseline up-and-under layup. Boswell missed a three-pointer on UCSB’s next possession and Moore corralled the board, setting up a putback by Butterfield with 55.9 seconds to go for a 73-68 lead and USU secured the win by hitting 4-of-6 free throws in the waning seconds.

The win was USU’s third in a row, improving to 8-2 on the season. The Gauchos had their three-game losing streak snapped with the loss, sliding to 6-4 overall. The Aggies have won eight of the last nine meetings with their former Big West Conference foe, as USU now leads the all-time series, 41-24. Utah State also improved to 48-1 all-time in tournaments it hosts, including winning each of its last 47.

Butterfield’s 31 points are the most points scored by an Aggie since Preston Medlin scored 32 points against Idaho on Feb. 24, 2012. With his season-high 10 rebounds, Butterfield collected his first double-double of the season and his eighth of his career.

Medlin netted 14 points while junior forward Ben Clifford matched his season-high of 10 points, both of which have come against UCSB, as the Aggies beat the Gauchos, 71-64, on Nov. 16 in Santa Barbara. Kyle Davis collected 10 rebounds for his second-straight double-digit rebounding outing and third of the season, but was his first not posting a double-double as he tallied four points. Medlin added seven rebounds and junior center Jordan Stone posted five boards, helping USU to a 40-29 rebounding advantage, the Aggies’ sixth time this year and third-straight game, with a double-digit rebounding advantage on its opponent. Marcel Davis dished out a season-high eight assists to go with seven points.

UCSB was led by Boswell’s 27 points while Williams notched 23 points, just missing a double-double with nine boards. Eric Childress added seven points, while Harmon and Boswell dished out five and four helpers, respectively.

The Aggies shot 46.0 percent (23-of-50) from the field, making 8-of-20 (40.0 percent) behind the arc, as well as 79.3 percent (23-of-29) at the free throw line. The Gauchos were 24-of-61 (39.3 percent) field goal shooting, and UCSB is just the second team this year to shoot at least 40 percent from three-point range against USU, as the Gauchos were 9-of-21 (.429) from behind the arc. The visitors were also 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) from the charity stripe.

USU bolted out of the gates, opening a 5-0 lead in the first 1:37 after a Medlin trey on the Aggies’ first possession and a dunk by Stone later. UCSB broke through the USU defensive pressure and got on the board with 16:08 on the clock, and then proceeded to reel off a 12-0 run, capped by a Boswell trey for a 12-5 lead at the 12:58 mark.

After the Aggies whittled away at the deficit and tied it at 18-all on a three-pointer by senior guard TeNale Roland with 8:16 left in the half, the Gauchos scored eight of the next 10 points for a 26-20 lead after another Boswell triple at the 5:37 mark. Again, USU trimmed away at the gap and took its first lead since the early going at 31-29 after a Butterfield three-pointer with 51 ticks on the first-half clock, and that remained the score into halftime.

A three-pointer by Clifford from the left wing gave USU a 39-38 lead but the Gauchos went on an 11-0 run to take a 49-39 lead after a layup by Aamahd Walker with 10:34 to go. Butterfield later hit a trey from the left wing to pull USU within 51-48 with 6:57 left, but UCSB surged ahead and took a 60-52 lead at the 4:02 mark after another Boswell three-pointer, setting up USU’s dramatic rally to force overtime and collect the hard-fought thrilling victory.

The Aggies are the lone unbeaten team in the tournament at 2-0, and will conclude Classic action against Troy on Saturday, Dec. 21 in an 8 p.m. tip-off, following UC Santa Barbara against Western Illinois at 5:30 p.m. The Troy Trojans are 4-6 after losing their second game of the weekend, falling in a 61-58 contest to the Leathernecks of Western Illinois in the first game of the night Friday, as the Leathernecks improved to 5-6 with the win.

None of the BTI Classic games will be televised, but the USU games will be aired on the radio and audio streamed online on the Aggie Sports Network, as well as video streamed online through on USU’s website, www.UtahStateAggies.com. Live stats will also be available through “Live Stats” link, and updates will also be available on Twitter – @Aggiehoops.

USU men’s basketball single-game, multi-game and season tickets are on sale. All single-game tickets will go on sale two weeks prior to each game. Single-game tickets will cost $18 for non-priority and $20 for priority, as well as $25 for premium game against UNLV (Feb. 15).

To order a package or for more Aggie men’s basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.

Fans can follow the Aggie men’s basketball program at twitter.com/AggieHoops. USU fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.


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