LOGAN – Utah State’s 85-79 win against Fresno State Saturday night improved its conference record to 9-5. The fourth win in a row was also win 400 for Head Coach Stew Morrill.
“I see why I’m retiring if they’re as tough as this one,” Morrill said. “I don’t remember a tougher win in a while.”
The Aggies led for more than 90 percent of the game, but struggled to pull far enough ahead to put the Bulldogs away. The win looked in question when the 12-point lead was cut to 78-75 late in the game and David Collette, who had 16 points, fouled out.
“I had been in games like that,” junior guard Darius Perkins said. “It was just in my head and I told the guys ‘We’re not going to lose this.’”
Perkins sunk five 3-pointers in the second half but none were as important as the one that came next. With 48 seconds left in the game, sophomore guard Jojo McGlaston found Perkins outside the arc for the shot that all but sealed the USU victory.
“Another good pass from Jojo,” Perkins said. “I was just open. I didn’t put any pressure on myself hoping it would go in, and it did.”
“We had to play well offensively to win, because we had a really hard time getting them stopped,” Morrill said. “It’s getting to late-February and guys are getting worn down and you just got to keep fighting in those kind of games and we did.”
When the Aggies played the Bulldogs in January, it resulted in a 61-52 loss. Freshman guard Julion Pearre said Saturday night was “just different.”
“We were able to get some looks,” Pearre said. “Teammates were able to find us. We were knocking shots down and a lot of people made a lot of good play to allow us to be able to score.”
Perkins and Pearre scored 19 points each. Morrill said the team got good guard play out of the two.
“Julion broke their defense down off the dribble and then he made some 3’s as well,” he said. “I thought Darius hit a bunch of big 3’s when we really needed them.”
The team has a short turnaround before they play UNLV on Tuesday. They will try to avenge the overtime loss they suffered January 24 in Las Vegas.