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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?"