WSU guard Toure Murry scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.The score: WSU 83, Utah State 76
Key statistics: WSU made 11 of 25 three-pointers and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds. The Shockers outscored the Aggies 20-15 at the foul line.
Records: USU 4-5, WSU 7-2
Few shooters are as much fun to watch as David Kyles when he gets it rolling. He isn’t afraid to go NBA range when he’s hot, and he was hot in the first half. For his career, Kyles is 9 of 15 from behind the arc against the Aggies. He admitted to extra incentive on Saturday. He knows Aggies guard Brockeith Pane, a fellow Dallas native. “It was kind of a hometown rivalry,” Kyles said. “We used to play against each other in high school all the time, and there are people in the stands, they drove from Dallas today to come here and watch it. So I tried to do a little extra, I guess.”WSU put the ball in Toure Murry’s hands in the final minutes and he made good decisions. The Shockers committed one turnover in the final four minutes (not by Murry). Murry made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 2:23 to hold off the Aggies. He didn’t force shots or passes, which is exactly what the situation called for. “Being smart, learning from the past,” he said. “Being a senior, I’ve got to make sure we just get the win. It’s being efficient during the end of games.” Murry continued his trend of solid play with four assists and two turnovers. He has 22 assists and 10 turnovers the past four games.Joe Ragland quietly played another good game – 19 points, six rebounds, three assists (one turnover) in 33 minutes. He kept the Shockers afloat with 13 second-half points. He made 4 of 7 threes, and is 15 of 22 from behind the arc in the past four games.WSU has been a good second-half team most of the season. Saturday, the Shockers blew it out in the first half and slumped in the second half. What to make of it? Probably not much. WSU has been a good defensive team most of the season, so write off Utah State’s 56 second-half points as an aberration. I don’t expect it to happen often.It’s disappointing Utah State isn’t its usual 25-win self. What looked like a good RPI win is not. It certainly won’t impress the NCAA selection committee lining up with Texas AM-Corpus Christi, Denver and Pacific as victors over the Aggies. There is always value in playing well-coached teams and the Shockers got a taste of what it’s like to defend MVC teams such as Evansville and Northern Iowa that run a lot of set plays.
Up next: vs. Chicago State, 7 p.m., Wednesday