LOGAN — This might not go down as Stew Morrill’s best team in his many years at Utah State, but their glossy 14-1 record has the Smith Spectrum crowd rocking and rolling with the good times.
Preston Medlin scored 25 points Friday night to lead Utah State to a 66-60 win over San Jose State, giving the Aggies a 13-game winning streak.
Medlin was 6 of 12 from the field and made 11 of 11 free throws.
“We knew that if we wanted to win this game we had to come out and play physical defense and play physical offense and run our plays better ... It was lot better in the second half,” Medlin said.
Jared Shaw had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Utah State (5-0 WAC). Spencer Butterfield had 13 points, and Kyisean Reed had 10.
“Well, we won. That is the good news. I thought that San Jose State responded really well for not having a couple of their better players,” Morrill said after his team ran its winning streak to 13, sixth-best in school history.
“We have some real challenges ahead, but at this point we have done our job and got a couple of road wins and we have protected our home court in league. Now it is time to try and get better next week and see what we can do on the road.”
Utah State led 29-27 at halftime. In the second half, San Jose State would get within one, but Utah State remained in the lead. Utah State shot 47.7 percent from the field for the game, while San Jose State shot 35.9 percent.
“They did a good job of getting into us and trying to take us out of our plays,” Medlin said. “In the first half we had too many turnovers, which is not what we want. We came in and adjusted a little bit and did a lot better in the second half taking care of the ball.”
D.J. Brown led the Spartans (9-7, 3-2) with 16 points. Chris Cunningham had 15 points, and Xavier Jones had 14. Alex Brown had nine rebounds.
“Credit to Utah State, they are very difficult to catch in the final eight minutes when they have a workable lead,” SJSU coach George Nessman said.
Utah State leads the WAC, winning 92 percent of its home games under Morrill.
• UTAH HOSTS USC: A pair of teams who have come oh so close to Pac-12 success in the past week meet this afternoon as Utah hosts USC at the Huntsman Center. Game time is 4 p.m.
Utah dropped its first two Pac-12 games in gut-wrenching fashion, 55-54 in overtime at Arizona State and 60-57 at No. 3 Arizona. After Thursday’s setback to UCLA, Utah’s seven losses have been by a combined 26 points (3.7 per game margin).
USC has dropped two close contests in a row, 72-64 vs. Cal and 66-60 at Colorado.
The Trojans have one of the best passing guards in the league in Jio Fontan (5.1 assists per game). They also have a formidable defensive frontcourt in Dewayne Dedmon and Omar Oraby, among the league leaders in blocked shots.
Cedric Martin had a season-high 12 points to lead Utah Wednesday but the Runnin’ Utes fell to UCLA,57-53. Jason Washburn also had a stellar evening with his third-straight double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds).
Jordan Loveridge scored in double figures for a team-leading 10th time this season with 11 points. Glen Dean had five assists to lead the Utes and also corralled six rebounds.
Utah held UCLA to its lowest point total of the season and kept star freshman Shabazz Muhammad in check (3-of-13, six points).
• BYU AT SANTA CLARA: BYU will look to remain perfect in the WCC when the Cougars play at Santa Clara on Saturday at Leavey Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Game time is 2:30 p.m.
Santa Clara (12-5, 1-2) already has two WCC losses.
Coming off a disappointing 84-80 loss at LMU on Thursday, SCU saw its conference road losing skid reach 12 games. Evan Roquemore scored 21 points with seven assists and Brandon Clark added a season-high 17 points.
After competing against the WCC’s second leading scorer in Anthony Ireland, who netted 29 in LMU’s win, the Broncos now face the league’s scoring leader in BYU’s Tyler Haws. Haws scored 24 points to lead the Cougars (13-2, 3-0) past Pepperdine in a 76-51 victory at home on Jan. 10. He has scored 20 or more in a game 11 times this season. He leads the WCC with 21.1 ppg.