for this game

Quayle, Utah State shakes Idaho for 19th straight win

Feb 13, 2009 - 7:34 AM MOSCOW, Idaho (Ticker) -- Jared Quayle helped Utah State squeak out another tight win.

Quayle scored six of his 12 points in the final four-plus minutes as No. 17 Utah State held off Idaho, 62-53, to extend its winning streak to a nation's best 19 games.

Gary Wilkinson had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies (24-1, 12-0 WAC), who claimed a share of the Western Athletic Conference crown while recording their 16th consecutive league victory.

It is the second consecutive share of a title for Utah State, which went 12-4 in conference play last season along with three other teams before losing in the semifinals of the league tournament to settle for a berth in the NIT.

"When we came into this league four years ago, there was a lot of speculation if we could hang," Utah State coach Stew Morrill told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We're hanging.

"Hopefully we'll find a way to win this thing outright."

Despite its impressive run this season, Utah State found itself in a dogfight, tied at 44-44 with 6:45 remaining.

It was the second straight tight affair for the Aggies, who saw Louisiana Tech attempt to rally from a 17-point deficit in the second half of Saturday's 60-52 win, closing within four on two occasions in the final 69 seconds.

Stavon Williams' 3-pointer with 6:21 left gave the Aggies the lead for good on Thursday but only due to some clutch play from Quayle.

The Vandals (10-13, 4-6) closed within 48-46 behind two free throws by Mac Hopson before Quayle came up with a big sequence. The junior guard hit a jumper with 4:16 to play and then stole the ball from Hopson and hit a layup to make it 52-46 just 15 seconds later.

Although Luciano de Souza came back with a 3-pointer for Idaho, the host could pull no closer than three points thereafter.

Wilkinson made sure of that, hitting a shot from the arc with 1:59 left for a 55-49 advantage. It was just the fourth 3-pointer of the season for 6-9 forward, who is 4-of-11 from long range.

"They're not ranked for no reason," Hopson told The Tribune. "They did what they had to do. They had more experience than us. ... They're a better team than us."

Overall, Wilkinson ended up 4-of-9 from the field and converted 9-of-10 free throws in posting his sixth double-double of the season.

Quayle also had six rebounds as the Aggies put together a dominant performance on the boards, finishing with a 40-21 advantage that included 16 offensive rebounds.

Utah State will continue its road trip with a stop at Boise State on Saturday.

"We've just got to keep going," Wilkinson told the newspaper. "We don't just want a share of it. We have a huge target on our backs right now. We've got to stay grounded."

Hopson finished with 17 points and de Souza 11 for the Vandals, who lost for the third straight time.