Utah State Stays Ahead Of Pack, Squeaks By San Jose State

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Gary Wilkinson scored a game-high 25 points to lead Utah State past San Jose State 62-58 on Thursday night, as the Aggies extended their winning streak to 13 games and remained alone atop the Western Athletic Conference.

Wilkinson scored in double-figures a team-leading 17th time and the 45th time for his career at Utah State (18-1, 6-0 WAC). He scored 14 points in the first half on 6 of 12 shooting and made just his second 3-point basket of the season.

Tyler Newbold and Jared Quayle each scored 13 points for the

Center Chris Oakes led San Jose State (8-9, 2-4) with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Justin Graham scored 11 and C.J. Webster 10.

Guard Adrian Oliver, San Jose State's leading scorer, returned to action after missing three games with a knee injury and scored
eight points on 4 of 12 shooting.

San Jose State trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, but it cut the lead to 60-58 on Robert Owens' 3-point shot with 24.7 seconds left.

After Utah State's Tai Wesley missed two free throws, the Spartans had a chance to tie the game with 9 seconds left, but Graham's baseline floater missed the mark, and Utah State grabbed the rebound.

Utah State's Stavon Williams then made two free throws, clinching the win.

Utah State's last regular-season WAC loss was on the road against San Jose State, a 70-67 decision on Feb. 18, 2008. And the Spartans, who came into the game having won back-to-back WAC road games for the first time since joining the conference in the 1996-97 season, gave them a scare.

The Aggies entered the game shooting 51.6 percent from the field, No. 1 in the nation. The Spartans held them to 40.7 percent shooting in the first half and 37.9 for the game. They outrebound Utah State 36-28 but lost the turnover battle 12-4.

Utah State built a slim 27-24 first-half lead then went on an 11-2 run to open the second half, expandidng its advantage to 35-24. Newbold hit two 3-pointers during the spurt, and Jared Quayle added another.

Utah State led 58-50 with 1:14 left. But Graham scored inside then added a three-point play, cutting the Aggies' lead to 58-55.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)