Utah State rolls in WAC quarterfinals, beating San Jose
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP)—Jaycee Carroll scored 24 points and freshman Tai Wesley added 15 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots as Utah State beat San Jose State 85-65 Thursday in the WAC quarterfinals.
Tyler Newbold added 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field, Gary Wilkinson scored 15 and the top-seeded Aggies (24-9) won their seventh straight to reach the tournament semifinals.
It didn’t take long for Carroll, who hit 10-of-13 from the floor, to seize control. He made his first five field goals and scored 10 points as Utah State raced to a 19-8 lead through the first 5 1/2 minutes.
The sharpshooter from Evanston, Wyo., had a putback, hit a jumper, then made consecutive 3-pointers, forcing a San Jose timeout. Seconds later, Pooh Williams hit another 3-pointer and Carroll made a floater, putting the Aggies up 24-9.
“Jaycee’s winning,” Utah State students chanted, noting their star player had scored more at that stage than the entire San Jose roster.
DaShawn Wright and C.J. Webster each scored 16 for San Jose State (13-19).
But the Aggies showed they had more than just Carroll.
Newbold made 5-of-6 of his 3-point attempts, and Wesley consistently worked the ball inside for layups. The youngster was a force with his interior defense — evidenced by his blocked shots.
But make no mistake, this is Carroll’s team.
He finished the regular season as the nation’s most accurate 3-point shooter, hitting 50.2 percent. He was named WAC player of the year after leading the league in scoring at 22.7 points.
The Aggies put it out of reach early in the second half, when Carroll swished a 3-pointer to cap a 10-0 run. That came after the Spartans cut it to 39-31 with two baskets to begin the second half.
A 12-0 burst later in the second half pushed Utah State’s lead to 70-49, and the Aggies improved to 20-0 when they hold their opponent below 70 points.
Utah State is just one of three teams—along with Gonzaga and Kansas—to win 23 games over the past nine seasons.