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Big second half carries Utah State past Blue Raiders

December 5, 2005 · MT Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah - Utah Sate broke open a close game at the half with a strong second half and rolled to a 79-61 win against Middle Tennessee in front of 7,422 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Monday night.

The Blue Raiders (3-2) trailed 35-33 at the intermission, but the Aggies (3-2) opened the second half with a 19-4 run to take control of the game and withstood a couple Middle Tennessee runs to win their 32nd consecutive non-conference regular-season home game and split the season series.

"The first half was decent. They couldn't get us stopped and we couldn't get them stopped," Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis said. "The first five minutes of the second half they just had more pop, more juice. They were more physical, they guarded better and we didn't have a single guy who could dent anything in the second half, but Utah State had a lot to do with that."

Fats Cuyler led Middle Tennessee with 16 points on the strength of four 3-pointers, while Adam Vogelsberg added 13 points. Tim Blue and Marques Dawson added eight points each for the Blue Raiders.

The Aggies, who were led by a season-high 23 points from Durrall Peterson, were virtually unstoppable from the field in the second half when they missed just nine attempts and shot 61 percent (14-of-23) from the field, including 4-of-6 (67 percent) from the 3-point line. For the game, Utah State shot 57 percent from the field, including 67 percent from beyond the arc.

Middle Tennessee, on the other hand, struggled from the field as it shot just 43 percent for the game and 40 percent (10-of-25) in the decisive second half. As a result, Utah State outscored the Blue Raiders 44-28 in the final 20 minutes.

The Blue Raiders cut a 54-38 deficit to 58-50 with 9:59 remaining on Marcus Morrison's layup and showed signs of making a comeback but they couldn't sustain the run as the Aggies quickly ran the lead back to 18, 70-52, with 5:03 remaining and never looked back.

Middle Tennessee will return to action when they travel to Belmont Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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