LOGAN, Utah — Michael Hale III scored 21 points, but Ben Clifford led four Aggies in double figures with 21 and Utah State downed UTSA, 71-51, on Saturday night at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
TeNale Roland scored all 14 of his points after halftime to help the Aggies (21-9, 11-7 WAC) turn a narrow six-point advantage midway through the second half into a 20-point victory. Spencer Butterfield and Jarred Shaw added 14 and 11 apiece, while Marvin Jean pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to help Utah State post a 42-26 edge on the glass.
Hale III was 7-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from behind the 3-point line, and a perfect 3-for-3 at the free-throw line in topping 20 points for the eighth time this season. It marked the 10th time the senior point guard led the Roadrunners (8-21, 3-15 WAC) in scoring this season.
Jeromie Hill added 10 points to reach 1,146 for his career and pass Calvin Haynes for ninth on the school’s all-time scoring list. Kannon Burrage chipped in nine points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Hill grabbed eight boards.
UTSA set a school record for fewest turnovers with four, breaking the mark of five set four times previously, last against Idaho nine days ago.
Utah State opened up a 12-point lead early in the second half behind a pair of Roland 3-pointers.
The Roadrunners responded behind the hot shooting hand of Hale III, who dropped in 11 consecutive points for the Birds, including a pair of treys, to pull the visitors to within six (46-40) midway through the stanza.
Hale III extended his points streak to 16 straight with another long distance connection and a pair of free throws, but Roland continued his own hot half to help the Aggies run the lead out to 64-45, an 18-5 run, with just under five minutes remaining.
UTSA shot 32.8 percent (19-of-58) from the field and made just 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) from downtown and 57.1 percent (8-of-14) at the charity stripe.
Meanwhile, Utah State made 25-of-50 from the floor despite shooting just 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from beyond the arc. The Aggies made 14-of-16 (87.5 percent) at the line and got 22 points from their bench, including Roland’s 14.
The Roadrunners shot just 24.1 percent (7-of-29) in the first half and were held to three points over the final 7:57 of the frame en route to trailing 25-17 at the break.
The Aggies held a 12-5 early advantage but the Roadrunners scored seven unanswered points — the last two on a layup by Edrico McGregor — to knot the score with 9:09 left in the half.
After Butterfield knocked down a trey for the home side, Hale III followed his own missed shot with a tip-in to make it 15-14 at the 7:57 mark. However, UTSA went cold and missed its next nine shots before Hale III found Hill under the basket for a layup at the 1:33 mark to pull the visitors to within four (20-16).
No. 9 seed UTSA will open WAC Tournament play on Tuesday, March 12, against eighth-seeded San Jose State (). The Spartans defeated the Roadrunners by a score of 80-67 on at the Convocation Center on Dec. 31, 2012, and Thursday's contest in San Jose was cancelled due to a leaky roof.