Utah State vs Idaho

Aggies clinch share of WAC title, run win streak to 19


MOSCOW, Idaho -- Utah State's Jared Quayle was slowed by a sore foot, and coach Stew Morrill kept wondering if he should give the guard a rest late in a close game against Idaho.

He didn't, and that turned out to be a good move for the 21st-ranked Aggies.

With his team ahead 48-46, Quayle hit a long jumper, then stole the ball on the next play and drove for a layup to put Utah State in command and the Aggies beat Idaho 62-53 on Thursday night to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 19 games.

"I kept asking my assistants if we needed to take him out," Morrill said of Quayle, who finished with 12 points. "My assistants kept saying no."

Gary Wilkinson had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Utah State (24-1, 12-0), which clinched at least a share of its second consecutive Western Athletic Conference title.

Mac Hopson scored 17 points to lead Idaho (10-13, 4-6), which was done in by poor rebounding as it sought to beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 1982.

After Idaho tied it at 44 on Marvin Jefferson's basket with just over six minutes left, Stavon Williams' 3-pointer gave the Aggies the lead for good.

Quayle made his consecutive baskets to give Utah State a 52-46 lead with four minutes left. But Luciano de Souza replied with his third 3-pointer for Idaho.

Wilkinson's 3-pointer with just under two minutes left gave Utah State a 55-49 lead, and the Vandals were forced to foul.

Idaho is coached by Don Verlin, in his first season after spending the past decade as an assistant to Morrill at Utah State.

"Both teams had a pretty good idea what the other was doing, imagine that?" Morrill joked.

That familiarity made baskets hard to come by, he said.

Utah State, which leads the nation in field-goal percentage at 50.6, shot 40 percent. Idaho shot 36 percent in losing its ninth in a row to Utah State.

Hopson said the similarities were uncanny.

"You could tell by the way we warm up and they warm up," Hopson said. "It was identical."

Verlin said he thought his team played its best game of the season.

"When it was time to make a big shot tonight, they made it," Verlin said of Utah State.

Utah State dominated the rebounding, 40-21, and converted those into 20 second-chance points.

"If we play that hard the rest of the year, the wins will come," said Verlin, who already had Idaho off to its best start in a decade.

Utah State led 24-22 after a first half in which both teams had shooting woes. Then both teams started making shots, but could not separate.

The Aggies tied their team record of 19 consecutive wins, set in 1999-2000, and are tied with Oklahoma for most wins in the nation. Utah State has won 16 consecutive WAC games dating to last season.

Utah State's only loss was to Brigham Young on Dec. 6.

Morrill said the Aggies continue to find ways to grind out wins late in games.

"We found a way down the stretch," he said. "It's a 'W.'"

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Gary Wilkinson tallies a double-double as the Aggies tie a team record with a 19th consecutive win.  (AP)
Gary Wilkinson tallies a double-double as the Aggies tie a team record with a 19th consecutive win. (AP)
Utah State #21 (24-1) «243862
Idaho (10-13)223153
UTST:Gary Wilkinson 18 Pts
UTST:Gary Wilkinson 10 Reb
UTST:Tyler Newbold 3 Ast
ID:M. Hopson 17 Pts
ID:M. Hopson 6 Reb
ID:M. Hopson 2 Ast

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IdahoUtah State
M. Hopson
G. Wilkinson
Utah State Aggies
G. Wilkinson, F344-99-10101118
T. Newbold, G-F331-92-34315
J. Quayle, G333-85-862212
T. Wesley, F314-61-25059
P. Williams, G-F241-32-22335
S. Williams, G253-40-02028
M. Formisano, F90-12-21002
J. Myaer, G71-20-00213
B. Jardine, G-F40-00-01010
M. Niang, CDid Not Play
C. Lee, FDid Not Play
D. Cooks, GDid Not Play
D. Geiger, GDid Not Play
S. Halford, GDid Not Play
Totals 17-4221-2731111562
Idaho Vandals
K. Watson, G373-62-33148
M. Hopson, G343-139-1162417
B. Wiley, F311-41-23143
M. Jefferson, C253-61-24027
T. Simmons, G242-31-20217
L. de Souza, F254-90-031111
T. Morris, G170-30-01210
D. Eisinger, G70-00-00010
E. Jgernaia, FDid Not Play
L. Augusto, FDid Not Play
R. Votaw, GDid Not Play
L. Toledo, FDid Not Play
M. Mahaffy, FDid Not Play
K. Barone, CDid Not Play
B. Brown, GDid Not Play
M. Lawrence, GDid Not Play
T. Blackstock, FDid Not Play
S. Johnson, GDid Not Play
Totals 16-4414-202091853
Big West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
UC Davis0-02-195
Cal Poly0-02-2290
UC Irvine0-02-3187
CSNorthridge 0-01-2337
UC Riverside0-01-2182
Other games
Louisville 57 Final
ND 90
UCLA 67 Final
Ariz St 74
Illinois 60 Final
Nwstern 59
GONZ 72 Final