Utah St's At-Large Hopes Shrink, Lose to Nevada

March 1st, 2009
RENO, Nev. - Armon Johnson scored a game-high 28 points and Luke Babbitt added 21 to lead Nevada past Utah State, 84-71, here Saturday night at Lawlor Events Center. Nevada improves to 17-11 overall and 9-5 in the Western Athletic Conference with the win, while Utah State falls to 26-4 overall and 13-2 in league play with the loss.


Senior forward Gary Wilkinson led Utah State with 16 points, while sophomore forward Tai Wesley recorded his third double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 10 points and a season-high tying 10 rebounds. Wesley also had a game-high seven assists. Junior guard Jared Quayle also scored in double-figures for USU and finished the game with 12 points and six boards, while sophomore guard Pooh Williams had nine points and five assists.


Nevada jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead before Utah State closed to within 12-11 on a jumper from sophomore forward Matt Formisano. The Wolf Pack then went on a 29-7 run over the next 10:13 to build a 41-18 advantage with 4:33 to play. USU then went on a 12-3 run to get within 14 at 44-30 and had a chance to get within 12, but missed the front-end of a one-an-one. Following a three-point play from Babbitt, Wilkinson hit a pair of free throws to make the half-time score 47-32.


Sophomore guard Tyler Newbold hit a three-pointer to start the second-half for USU to cut the margin to 12, but Nevada then scored six straight points to increase its advantage to 18. USU quickly responded with a 7-0 run to get within 11 at 53-42 following a three-pointer from junior guard Stavon Williams and later got within seven at 66-59 on a layup from Pooh Williams with 6:59 to play. However, that was as close as the Aggies would get and eventually lost by 13.


Utah State finished the game by shooting 45.1 percent from the field (23-51), 38.1 percent from three-point range (8-21), and 77.3 percent from the free throw line (17-22). Nevada shot 51.0 percent for the game (26-51), including 40.0 percent from behind the arc (6-15), and 78.8 percent from the free throw line (26-33). UN also out-rebounded USU, 31-30, while USU had eight more assists (19-11).


Johnson led Nevada with 14 first-half points, while Babbitt had 13 as the Wolf Pack shot 50.0 percent from the field (15-30) and 54.5 percent from three-point range (6-11). Wesley paced Utah State with six first-half points as the Aggies shot 47.8 percent overall (11-23), including 33.3 percent from behind the arc (3-9).


Next up for Utah State will be its regular season finale when it hosts San Jose State on Saturday, Mar. 7 at 7 p.m.