LOGAN -- Utah State's roller-coaster season revved up Saturday night, as the Aggies posted an impressive 76-56 win over Idaho in the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament second-round game at the Smith Spectrum.
Preston Medlin and Brockeith Pane led the Aggies to the big early lead. Utah State's 19 home games this year are the most in school history breaking the previous record of 18 played during the 2009-10 season.
Pane dished out a career-high 11 assists and Medlin scored 17 points in leading Utah State into the quarterfinals on Wednesday against the winner of today's Weber State vs. Loyola Marymount game. The site of the USU's next game is yet to be determined.
"I thought that we came out excited to play. We had some energy and at this time of the year that is critical," USU coach Stew Morrill said. "Obviously, it is easier when you are the home team, but it is not always a guarantee. I was just really pleased with our guys and how they approached the start of the game and basically built us a cushion we had the whole night. We were really aggressive defensively in the first half. We had a lot of deflections, and they were having a hard time scoring and that is what got us a nice halftime lead."
Junior forward Kyisean Reed also scored in double-figures for the second time in as many games for Utah State as he finished the night with 15 points and a team-high tying five rebounds. Medlin also had five boards to go along with four assists.
Junior center Kyle Barone had nine points and seven rebounds to lead Idaho as no player scored in double-figures for the visitors.
Utah State never trailed in the game as it scored the first four points on layups by Reed and Pane and later took its first double-digit advantage of the night at 13-3 on a layup from freshman center Jordan Stone. USU's lead swelled to 16 at 19-3 following a layup from sophomore forward Mitch Bruneel and the home team led by as many as 24 in the first-half before taking a commanding 39-16 cushion into intermission.
"We were hustling out there. We were getting rebounds, and we were making them miss shots because of our energy and that is what coach emphasized," Medlin said.
Utah State stayed on the offensive as it scored the first seven points of the second-half to take its largest lead at any point this season at 46-16 with 18:17 to play. The Vandals answered with a mini 7-0 run but never got closer than 18 points the rest of the game as USU coasted to the 20-point win.
Utah State finished the game shooting 49.2 percent (29-59), including 37.5 percent from 3-point range (6-16) and 85.7 percent at the free throw line (12-14).
Idaho did outrebound Utah State by three (33-30), marking just the third time in its last 13 games that USU has been beaten on the glass. The Aggies did dish out 21 assists, its second-most in a game this year.
Utah State has now won back-to-back postseason games for just the second time in school history along with the 1970 team that advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament.
"It's a very tough place to play; they're very well coached. They haven't won 92 percent of their games here for no reason at all," Idaho coach Don Verlin said. "Like I told our guys afterward, this game needs to be flushed down the toilet. I don't think we need to focus on this game as far as our season goes."