LOGAN, Utah -- After a sluggish first half, Utah State turned up its defense against Nevada, holding the Wolf Pack to their lowest output in 10 years.
Brockeith Pane scored 18 points to lead the Aggies (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) to a 67-45 win over Nevada on Wednesday night for their 16th straight victory. Brady Jardine added 14 points for the Aggies (21-2, 10-0 Western Athletic Conference).The Aggies led 29-28 at the half before beginning the second half with a 21-6 run to take control of the game. Jardine sparked the team during the spurt."We kind of had the doldrums the first half," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said, "and we made a bunch of dumb plays at the end of the half. But I thought we really helped each other in the second half, we were active defensively and it was fun to watch from a defensive standpoint."Nevada's leading scorer, Dario Hunt (13.7 points per game), managed only seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, and Olek Czyz (13.4 ppg) also had seven, just two in the second half. The Wolf Pack shot 2-of-17 from 3-point range."It was not a great shooting night for us," Morrill said, "but anytime you can hold a team to 25 points below their average, well, we must have done something right."Nevada coach David Carter credited the Aggies' defense with causing his team to play outside its regular game."I thought they did a really good job doubling Dario Hunt, who was a big part of our game plan. We had a few players panic under pressure tonight," Carter said, "and had some players try to create on their own. They really limited what we were able to do."The Aggies have the third-longest active winning streak right now behind No. 1 Ohio State and Coastal Carolina."We're just trying to keep it rolling," Jardine said. "I think with each game, we'll make a bit more of statement that we are for real."Utah State has won 27 consecutive home games, the third-longest active streak behind Duke (31) and Kentucky (29). Overall, the Aggies have won 78 of their past 80 home games. They have won a school-record 28 straight Western Athletic Conference home games, with the last home conference loss coming March 3, 2007, against Fresno State.Utah State's only two losses this season have come against ranked opponents, on the road. The Aggies lost 78-72 on Nov. 17 at BYU when the Cougars were ranked No. 23, and 68-51 on Dec. 4 at Georgetown, when the Hoyas were ranked No. 14.In a tight, defense-dominated first half, the score changed hands seven times and was tied twice.Utah State led 27-19 with 4:30 left before the Wolf Pack closed with a 9-2 run to make it a one-point game at the half."It's pretty simple what happened," Jardine said. "Coach said we needed more energy, so a couple of us gathered together and said we need to pick it up. I think we did that, and when we do, we're very tough to beat."