A tug of war? Can that actually be used to describe a basketball game?
We're running with it, plus that point Brockeith Pane with 21 points hurt the Spartans all evening via dribble-drive penetration in a Utah State 80-71 victory.
A strong second half by frontcourter Tai Wesley -- because he wasn't burdened by foul trouble -- also aided the Aggie victory. He finished with 16 points, eight boards and just one second half foul. Tyler Newbold just missed a double-double with 11/9.
An under-the-weather Adrian Oliver totaled 18 points. Justin Graham added 15 and Brylle Kamen 13.
Utah State went up 56-50 with 11:03 left. Then Pooh Williams got called for an elbow, subsequently used a variation of the King's English in conversing with the referee and was slapped with a T. Two Oliver free throws and a Graham bucket brought the difference back to two.
The Aggies eventually stretched the lead to seven -- 61 to 54 -- with 8:45 remaining, then 63-54 until Graham nailed a jumper. Stew Morrill's squad then advanced it to 11. It was cut to nine a couple of times but San Jose State couldn't get closer.
Utah State remained relatively foul free in the second half and forced the Spartans into double figure whistles.
Rebounding was even at the half but the Aggies broke out to earn a 14 carom lead in that category come game's end.
Wil Carter fouled out with 8:20 remaining in the game, limited all night by foul difficulties.
It was a most surreal first half, highlighted by 28 foul calls, 15 on USU. For the Aggies, Wesley (both offensive, one an intentional elbow), Morgan Grim, Matt Formisano and Nate Bendall each were whistled for two fouls, with Brady Jardine totaling three.
Oliver had 10 points after the initial 20 minutes (on just six shots), Brylle Kamen nine and Calvin Douglas seven.
Pane owned the first half with 15 points, five boards and a trio of assists.
Utah State rolled out to a 7-0 lead but SJSU came back to tie it at nine apiece on a pair of Oliver free throws. It went back and forth until the Aggies led 39-38 when the clock expired.
By the way, Wild Bill Sproat was sporting wings tonight.