Last Saturday the Aggie men’s basketball team recorded its 12th win in a row.
On Monday, Utah State showed up in the “others receiving votes” in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Poll. While it was just a single vote, it still was the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season that USU received votes in a national poll. The Aggies were ranked No. 25 then.
USU (13-1, 4-0 Western Athletic Conference) was one of four teams getting one vote to tie for 37th. Arizona State (13-2), Temple (10-3) and Virginia (11-3) were the others. There are four teams still undefeated, while the Aggies are among 12 in the country with one loss.
The USA Today Sports Board of Coaches is made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions. All are members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
The Aggies capped a busy stretch last Saturday with a 82-75 overtime win against Idaho. It was their fourth game in eight days.
Now USU has just one game this week, hosting league foe San Jose State (8-6, 3-1) on Friday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Spartans beat Seattle last Saturday, 76-71, in California.
“We just need to keep playing good, keep playing well at home,” said Aggie guard Preston Medlin, who was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week Monday. “We are getting ready for San Jose this week and will keep focusing and worrying about one game at a time.”
USU nearly saw its winning streak come to an end against the Vandals. Idaho had an eight-point lead and seemed to be hitting on all cylinders late in the game.
Over the final 3:12 minutes of the game, the Aggies scored eight points and didn’t allow the Vandals to score. Medlin drilled a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds in regulation to force overtime
“This was a good game for us,” said Aggie center Jarred Shaw, who passed up a shot and got credit for an assist on Medlin’s three. “We learned a lot and just want to get better from here. ... I feel like we played together, played like a team (Saturday). We played hard.”
Shaw had his fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“That was just a big shot by Preston,” Shaw said. “... We love Preston. That’s the second time he has done that. ... Basketball is a game of momentum swings. They (Vandals) got hot and fortunately we hit the shot at the end to go to overtime, then we caught our momentum and made our run.”
The Aggies certainly did. After finishing regulation with an 8-0 run, USU put together a 7-0 run in overtime to seize the lead and hold on for the victory.
“We were at home and don’t like losing at the Spectrum,” Shaw said. “Our fans deserve it. We just tried to give the fans what they deserve.”
Shaw shook off a tough outing on Thursday against Seattle and felt better about his game against Idaho, even though he did foul out in the overtime.
“I stayed positive (tonight), didn’t get down or frustrated,” Shaw said. “I’m maturing game by game, trying to get better.”
Aggie head coach Stew Morrill was pleased with how his team hung in there.
“It would have mentally been really easy to just kind of quit because you’re worn out,” Morrill said. “We didn’t do that. We made enough plays.”
Shaw passed up an open shot in the closing seconds of regulation. The Aggie coach said Shaw took some ribbing from teammates, as the big man usually shoots when open.
“That was very good poise under the circumstances,” said Morrill of Shaw not shooting and getting the ball to Medlin. “... I’m really proud of the guys for hanging in there and finding a way.”