FRESNO, Calif. (AP)—Jaycee Carroll scored 22 points, including six 3-pointers, as Utah State held off Fresno State 77-72 on Thursday night to maintain first place in the Western Athletic Conference.
Utah State (17-6 overall, 7-1 WAC) led by double digits throughout the game until the Bulldogs made a late surge. Fresno State pulled to within 73-70 on Eddie Miller’s 3-pointer with 1:02 left, but could get no closer.
Hector Hernandez led Fresno State (11-13, 4-6) with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Miller and Kevin Bell added 20 points apiece.
Gary Wilkinson and Kris Clark had 16 points each for the Aggies, who shot 58.3 percent from the floor and made 8-of-14 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game in the final minute, but Miller missed a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left. Clark grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws to seal the victory.
After being held without a field goal in the first half, Miller scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half.
Carroll, the WAC’s leading scorer and most accurate 3-point shooter, finished 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Utah State, which leads Boise State (8-2) in the WAC standings, led by as many as 16 points in the second half before Miller and Hernandez fueled Fresno State’s comeback.
The Aggies won their first ever game at the Save Mart Center and for the first time in Fresno since 1992. Utah State joined the WAC prior to the 2005-06 season.
Utah State led 39-25 at halftime thanks in large part to 55.2 percent shooting. The Aggies built a double-digit lead in eight minutes, then maintained their cushion for the remainder of the half.
Carroll led the way with 11 points, and Clark added 10. Hernandez had 10 points for the Bulldogs.
When Carroll wasn’t hitting 3-pointers, the all-conference guard played smothering defense on Eddie Miller, holding Fresno State’s top perimeter shooter without a field goal in the first half.