Dec. 22, 2009
Logan, Utah -
Tai Wesley scored 13 points and three teammates added 12 points each Tuesday night as Utah State cruised to an 83-60 win over Cal State Fullerton in the Basketball Travelers' Invitational.
The Aggies led all the way and improved to 8-4 in winning their 165th game in 178 outings for 12th-year Coach Stew Morrill in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Fullerton fell to 4-5 as the Titans lost in the building for the 23rd time in a row despite 15 points from first-time starter Orane Chin and 10 from reserve guard Eric Williams.
Utah State is now 2-0 in the tournament and faces 2-0 Weber State Wednesday for the title in its own tourney, which it has won all 17 previous times. Fullerton and Morehead State meet at 5:30 p.m. MST in a battle for third place. Utah State shot 57 percent from the floor including 60 percent from the 3-point line. Fullerton shot only 36 percent overall and 37 percent from the arc. Utah State won the battle of the boards, 35-27.
The Aggies were hot from the outset, hitting 6 of their first 8 shots from the 3-point line. They scored the first five points of the game and then opened a lead of 17-3 after less than 6 minutes. Chin had the Titans' only early points and finished the half with a game-high 13 but the Titans trailed, 44-30. Fullerton never got closer in the second half and trailed by as many as 25 points at 77-52.
In the half, the Aggies shot 59 percent from the floor including 58 percent from the 3-point line. Fullerton, which trailed by as many as 23 points, the last time at 37-14 with 7 minutes to go, warmed up to get as close as 37-26 and finish at 40 percent from the floor and 43 percent from the 3-point line.
"Obviously, we got way behind at the start playing a zone defense," said CSF Head Coach Bob Burton. "We went to a man-to-man and played them even the rest of the way. I was proud of our effort and we got some positives out of it. We progressed at a lot of positions."
The Titans play their third and final game of the tournament Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. MST against Morehead State of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Eagles also are 0-2 in the tourney after a 7-point loss to Utah State and a 2-point loss to Weber State.