LOGAN — If one of the hallmarks of a good team is the ability to win when it doesn't play its best, Utah State passed the test with flying colors Thursday night.
In a game where they couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean for a while, the Aggies (12-1, 3-0 WAC) still managed a 75-66 win over a pesky Seattle (5-7, 0-2) squad in the Spectrum.
“Sometimes you win and you don’t play great,” Utah State head coach Stew Morrill said. “We did just barely enough to win tonight.”
After a sluggish start it looked like the Aggies were going to cruise to a big victory. USU fell behind 7-2 in the first two minutes, but thanks in part to nine-straight points for senior forward Kyisean Reed the Aggies rolled off an 18-5 run after that to go up 20-12 at the halfway point of the first half. Utah State continued to build on the lead, getting a margin as large as 11 with 2:38 left in the first half.
Then the drought set in.
The team failed to score again before halftime. Coming out of the locker room things didn’t get much better. Marcel Davis put an end to a scoring drought of over seven minutes with a pair of free throws at the 15:06 mark in the second half. Then Davis hit the Aggies' first field goal in nearly 12 minutes of game time with a 3-point bucket with 11:46 left in the game to bring the score even at 42.
Taking the lid off the basket was just part of the huge night Davis had for the Aggies. The freshman from American Fork High School had 13 points, seven assists, two steals and just three turnovers against an aggressive Redhawk defense.
“That’s the thing with us: We have a lot of shooters. We can score really fast and in spurts,” Davis said. “We made a good run at the end of the game that helped us.”
Counting Davis’ slump-breaking 3-pointer the Aggies ran off a 31-16 run to go back up by double digits and seal the victory.
“We got some stops and it allowed us to get out and run,” Reed said. “They sent five guys to the offensive glass and I think I’m faster than pretty much every big man I meet.”
Reed finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double of the season.
“One of those games where a couple guys make a few big plays,” Morrill said. “Kyisean (Reed) had a great night. He had some huge offensive rebounds. Spencer (Butterfield) hit a big shot. Marcel (Davis) hit a big shot. And all of a sudden we are up eight or 10 and it really wasn’t that kind of game.
“We will take it, learn from it and try and get better.”
The Aggies will have to learn the lessons from this game pretty quickly. USU will play their fourth game in a week against Idaho on Saturday night in the Spectrum. The Vandals will come into the game with a perfect 2-0 WAC record after winning at San Jose State on Thursday night, 64-55.
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.