for this game

Scoring balance keeps Utah State perfect in WAC

Feb 6, 2009 - 7:31 AM LOGAN, Utah (Ticker) -- Instead of being dominant like his last performance, Garry Wilkinson was just perfect.

Wilkinson led five players in double figures with 18 points as No. 22 Utah State celebrated its first ranking in five years with a 78-59 victory over New Mexico State on Thursday.

Tyler Newbold scored 17 points and Jared Quayle added 12, eight assists and seven rebounds for Utah State (22-1, 10-0 WAC), which extended its winning streak to 17 games - the nation's longest.

"We're a team," Wilkinson told The Salt Lake Tribune about the team's balance. "If guys are struggling, it seems like other guys will step up. I love that about our team."

"That's one of our strengths," Newbold told the newspaper. "No one is selfish. Our team has balance. We work to find the best shot we can. That mentality starts in practice."

Utah State, which is in the national poll for the first time since 2003-04, went on a 10-2 run early in the second half to take a 47-36 lead with 15:58 remaining.

The 6-9 forward Wilkinson made two free throws to start the burst, as apart of his 8-of-8 performance from the stripe.

Wilkinson also made all of his five shots from the field, including a pair of layups that sandwiched a free throw by New Mexico State's Wendell McKines, giving Utah State a 57-44 cushion with 12:02 left.

New Mexico State (11-12, 5-5) got no closer than eight points thereafter.

"We played a good second half," Utah State coach Stew Morrill told the paper. "We were pretty soft the first half. We were really not playing hard enough."

With the perfect shooting, Wilkinson followed up on a dominant effort at Fresno State on Saturday in which the senior scored a career-high 33 points in the 83-77 victory.

Wilkinson also pulled down 11 rebounds in this one, posting his fourth double-double of the season.

Pooh Williams scored 11 points and Tai Wesley added 10, five rebounds and five assists for Utah State, which has won eight of its last 10 games by six or more points.

Jahmar Young had 15 points and Jonathan Gibson 13 for New Mexico State, which was swept in the season series.