Utah State 45

(3-1, 1-1 away)

Utah 56

(4-2, 3-0 home)

    9:00 PM ET, December 3, 2003

    Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

    1 2 T
    USU 16 2945
    UTAH 35 2156

    Utah 56, Utah State 45

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah senior Nick Jacobson finally has a win against Utah State.

    One of just two seniors on the Utes, Jacobson had played each of the three seasons before as the Aggies put together a three-game streak in the series. But on Wednesday, the Utes took command early with tight defense and 62-percent shooting in the first half and held on to end the skid in the state rivalry with a 56-45 win Monday.

    "I was telling the guys all week, I'm not going out with four straight losses to these guys," said Jacobson, who was 4-for-9 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the line. "They're a good team and they play hard and I know that without having to hear anything about them. But we have plenty of motivation through me because I wasn't about to leave this school without beating them once."

    Jacobson and center Tim Frost, who transferred to Utah and wasn't around for the start of the streak, are the only seniors on the Utah roster. The biggest contribution came from a freshman who had never faced the Aggies before.

    Andrew Bogut had 12 points and 16 rebounds for his third double-double of the season as the Utes (4-2) showed no lingering effects from a 76-44 loss to Connecticut last week in the consolation game of the Preseason NIT.

    "We learned a lot from it, watching the tapes three or four thousand times. Each clip, we just learned from it," said Richard Cheney, who had 10 points for Utah.

    Spencer Nelson, with 11 points, was the only player for the Aggies (3-1) to score in double figures. Utah State was just 7-for-24 from the field in the first half and a late push at end of the second half wasn't nearly enough to catch the Utes.

    "They're bigger. They're stronger. They're better," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "They dominated us. We were throwing shots up just because we were intimidated. We were a little bit of the cause and they were a lot of the cause."

    Bogut, a freshman from Australia, has had double figure totals in either scoring or rebounding in all but one of the first six games.

    Utah scored just 21 in the second half, but spent much of the closing minutes passing the ball around and trying to kill the clock with a large lead.

    Utah State wasn't able to sustain much of a stretch until midway through the second half, when Mike Ahmad started an 8-0 run that got the Aggies to 48-32 with a three-point play and a layup. Utah State continued to cut the lead gradually as the half wound down and Nelson trimmed the lead to 55-43 on two free throws with about two minutes remaining.

    The Aggies got within 10, but it was too late to catch the Utes, who took control in the first half and weren't tested much in the second.

    "We're still trying to learn how to play in those situations. We haven't been in a situation where we've had a big lead at the end of the game. They were able to creep back in," Jacoboson said. "It was a good experience for us and hopefully we'll build on it."

    Utah State didn't get a field goal until a dunk by Nelson with 14:37 left in the first half cut Utah's lead to 13-3. Utah came back with a 9-1 run and later in the half, Chaney scored eight straight points by himself, capping it with a 3-pointer just as the shot clock was expiring.

    Utah outshot Utah State 62 percent to 29 percent in the first half and led 35-16 at halftime, the Aggies' lowest point total after 20 minutes since scoring 14 against Northern Arizona November 1999.

    Utes coach Rick Majerus said the improvement from the Connecticut loss was apparent.

    "To tell you the truth, I think Connecticut is the best team in the country," Majerus said. "We came back and we did what sports are all about. We got up off the mat."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2003-04 Season

    » Dec 3, 2003 @UTAH 56, USU 45Recap