Aggies Sweep - Beat SB and Cal Poly on the road!

Big play by Brown and others provides winning spark!


It only takes a little spark to ignite a great big flame. Utah State's Mark Brown, who was the littlest man on the floor Saturday against Cal Poly at 5-foot-10 inches, came up with the biggest play of the night in sparking the Aggies to the 69-63 victory over Cal Poly.

With the score tied at 54 with just over five minutes to play, the Aggies were inbounding the ball under their own basket. Brown, instinctively, threw the ball off a Cal Poly defender and layed it in. The play proved to be the difference.

"That's just a smart play," Brown said. "No one was paying attention to me." The play sparked a 6-0 run for the Aggies, and the Mustangs would never recover. With the win, the Aggies capped the trip with the sweep and remain unbeaten (3-0) in Big West Conference play. With the loss, the Mustangs fall to 1-3 in league play and 6-6 overall. "It's an awfully good way to start conference with the sweep," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "It's going to be an easier bus ride to L.A. by getting the sweep."

The win also equaled the 1938-39 team that started the year 11-1. A win next week at home over Pacific would give the Aggies the record and the outright lead in league play. The Tigers are 4-0 in conference action. Morrill wasn't aware the win was record-tying.

"That's good," Morrill said. "There's another game next Thursday." Mike Ahmad led three Utah State players to score in double figures with 16 points, while Spencer Nelson and Brown added 15 and 14 points, respectively. Nelson also had 13 rebounds in posting his second double-double of the year.

Ahmad, who was four points shy of his career high, drew energy from the hype placed on his counterpart Varnie Dennis, who poured in 30 points Thursday night against Idaho. "They had an article in the paper and the crowd was talking garbage," Ahmad said. Dennis still scored a game-high 20 points for the Mustangs, but he was virtually ineffective down the stretch. He played the entire 40 minutes for the second game in a row. In racking up his 16 points, Ahmad was 8-for-9 from the field and grabbed four rebounds. Cardell Butler, who had a team-high 18 points at Santa Barbara Thursday, was held to just seven points, but he had four rebounds and a team-high and career-high six assists against the Mustangs.

The Aggies shot 56.3 percent from the field Saturday to increase their 50-plus shooting streak to six straight games. They shot 63.9 percent (14-22) in the second half. Utah State held the Mustangs to 43.5 percent shooting - including 7-of-23 from the 3- point line.

The Mustangs, trailing 10-6, went on a 10-0 run midway through the first half to take their biggest lead of the half. Utah State fought back to lead by as many as three points with just under two minutes left in the half before taking a one-point lead into the locker room.

Kameron Gray's jumper to open the half gave the Mustangs their last lead, but the game was tied four more times. Utah State led by as many as nine points on a jumper by Spencer Nelson with 12:27 left in the game. The Mustangs tied the score at 54-54 before Brown's quick thinking gave the Aggies the lead for good.

Behind Dennis' 20 points, Gray and Shane Schilling added 18 and 14 points, respectively.

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