February 7, 2004

Gauchos Stopped By No. 24 Utah State

Feb 7, 2004

Box Score

By DOUG ALDEN
AP Sports Writer

LOGAN, Utah (AP) - Nate Harris scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds, and No. 24 Utah State extended its winning streak to 16 games with a 63-54 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.

Cardell Butler finished with 19 points to lead the Aggies (19-1, 11-0 Big West), who have not lost since a 56-45 defeat at Utah on Dec. 3.

Mark Brown scored 11 and Jason Williams finished with 10 points. All but one Utah State starter scored in double figures. Spencer Nelson just missed with nine points, but had eight rebounds.

The Aggies have won the two games they have played since returning to the AP rankings for the first time since 1971.

Utah State had to survive a few dry spells, but took control defensively in the second half to clinch the victory. The Gauchos (12-8, 6-5) went scoreless for 8:11 midway through the second half as Utah State pulled away for good.

Cameron Goettsche and Casey Cook led UCSB with 10 points each. The Gauchos, who led 30-28 at halftime, were just 8-for-27 in the second half.

Bryan Whitehead put UCSB up 41-36 on a hook shot with 15:28 left to play, but the Gauchos didn't score again until Cook's two free throws with 7:19 remaining. Utah State also struggled from the floor but slowly scored the next 13 points during UCSB's drought.

Harris started the 13-point rally with a layup, followed by Williams' inside shot that cut the lead to 41-40. Nelson tied it by going 1-for-2 from the line and Harris put the Aggies back on top after blocking a shot by Bray Skultety, getting fouled and making 1-of-2 from the line.

Brown added a 3-pointer and the Aggies slowly kept pulling away.

The Gauchos made a final run, cutting the lead to 53-48 on a shot by Goettsche, but Butler slammed in a rebound off a miss by Chris Huber as the shot clock wound down, then Butler hit a 3-pointer with 1:53 remaining that put the Aggies up 58-48.

Butler added a layup just before the buzzer to start the celebration.

Both teams were streaky in the first half. After falling behind 16-10, the Aggies went on a 15-2 run to take a 25-18 lead after two straight 3-pointers by Butler. But then Utah State went cold and the Gauchos rallied with nine straight points.

Williams hit a 3-pointer to give the Aggies a 28-27 lead, but Cook converted a three-point play to put the Gauchos up 30-28 at halftime.

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