having our number here [at the Smith Spectrum]," Nelson said.
In the end, however, there was no Logan magic this time, as the
Aggies (16-1, 8-0 in conference) held on for a 57-48 triumph before
9,037, most of whom voiced their extreme pleasure at defeating UCI
for the first time in three seasons in their own building.
"They came to play," Utah State Coach Stew Morrill said of the
Anteaters, who saw an early lead evaporate on a 24-2 Aggie run
spanning the end of the first half and the start of the second. "They
were physical and took a lot of things away from us. They dared us to
shoot the ball from the perimeter. We were really tight in the first
The Aggies, who came in leading the nation with a 52.2 field-goal
percentage, shot a season-low 26.7% in the first half (8 for 30).
But, thanks to a 10-0 run the final 4:36 before intermission, they
came out of the halftime locker room with a 22-22 tie, as well as
That confidence carried through after UCI's Stanislav Zuzak tossed
in a jump hook, to open the second-half scoring.
Then, Aggie senior guard Cardell Butler, who scored just 13 points
the previous two games to see his team-leading scoring average fall
to 13.4, started another cascade for the hosts.
Butler hit a three-pointer, then converted a traditional
three-point play within a 22-second span to spark a 14-0 surge. He
capped the run with a three-point play on an emphatic dunk that made
it 36-24 Aggies with 14:28 remaining.
That lead expanded to 46-31 with 10:03 left, before Irvine, now
1-5 on the road, rediscovered its offense and made things
During the 24-2 Utah State flurry, which spanned 11:08, UCI
struggled to even find quality shots. In one telltale sequence, the
Anteaters followed a 35-second shot clock violation with an errant
25-foot desperation three-point try to avert another shot-clock
But sophomore guard Mike Efevberha nudged the visitors back on
track by scoring seven straight Irvine points, then scored again in
the middle of a 6-0 UCI burst that cut the deficit to 46-37 with 7:54