Utah State 65

(24-7, 13-5 Big West)

(22) Pacific 52

(26-3, 18-0 Big West)

    12:00 AM ET, March 13, 2005

    Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California

    1 2 T
    USU 28 3765
    #22PAC 29 2352

    Aggies upset Big West's top seed

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Utah State left nothing to chance this year.

    Left out of the NCAA Tournament last season, the Aggies earned the Big West's automatic bid Saturday night with a 65-52 victory over Pacific (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 18 AP) in the championship game of the conference tournament.

    Utah State (24-7) ended Pacific's 22-game winning streak to secure its fifth NCAA Tournament berth -- and its fifth Big West championship -- in eight years.

    "All I know is we're in," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "That's all that matters right now."

    Big West freshman of the year Jaycee Carroll led the Aggies with 22 points, shooting 9-for-19 from the field, and Spencer Nelson added 16 points for the second-seeded Aggies.

    Top-seeded Pacific (26-3) entered the game with the nation's longest winning streak and had won 34 straight against Big West teams.

    The Tigers went more than 10{ minutes without a field goal in the second half, and their 52 point-total was the lowest of the season.

    Utah State went on a 19-2 run midway through the second half, capped by a short jumper from Carroll that put the Aggies up 49-37 with 7:32 to play.

    "Coach always says the advantage goes to the aggressor," Carroll said. "I came out tonight and tried to get them back on their heels."

    "We had no answer for Carroll," Pacific coach Bob Thomason said. "They deserved to win."

    The Tigers' leading scorer, Guillaume Yango, scored just six points, and Big West player of the year David Doubley had just eight.

    The Aggies led by as many as 16 in the final minutes. They lost to Pacific twice during the regular season, once in overtime, once by a single point.

    "We wanted a chance to play them again and we got our wish," Nelson said. "We took care of business."

    Pacific led by one, 29-28 at halftime and scored the first four points of the second half, but Carroll made a 3-pointer to pull Utah State to 35-33, and the Aggies took the lead at 36-35 with a short jumper with 15:38 to go.

    The Tigers had a scoreless stretch in the first half nearly as long as their second-half drought. After Jasko Korajkic made a 3-pointer to start the game, the Tigers went more than 9 minutes without a field goal in the first.

    The Tigers were expected to get an at-large tournament bid even with a loss Saturday but might still be left out after their worst performance of the year.

    "We deserve to go," Thomason said. "No team in the country is 13-1 on the road. Why wouldn't they want us in there?"

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2004-05 Season

    Jan 13, 2005 @PAC 73, USU 66Recap
    Feb 12, 2005 PAC 64, @USU 63Recap
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