Jan. 3, 2010
RUSTON, La. -
Complete Release in PDF Format
Utah State (10-5, 0-1) vs. Louisiana Tech (13-2, 1-0)
Monday, Jan. 4, 2000 * 6:05 p.m. (MT) * Ruston, La.
Thomas Assembly Center (8,000) * Aggue Radio Network
GAME DAY HEADLINES
Utah State is in its 105th season of basketball and has an overall record of 1,411-999 (.585). USU hasn't had a losing season since the 1992-93 campaign, a span of 16 years, when that team finished with a 10-17 record.
Utah State is 3-1 this year and 55-17 (.764) over the last 11 years following a loss, and has dropped back-to-back games just 14 times during that time period.
Utah State is 0-4 on the season in games decided by five or fewer points as it lost to Utah by one point (68-67), Northeastern by three points (64-61), New Mexico State by three points (55-52), and Saint Mary's by five points (68-63). Prior to its one point loss to Marquette (58-57) in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, Utah State had won 10 of its previous 12 games decided by two or fewer points including five straight wins in games decided by one point.
Utah State has won 19 of its last 22 WAC games dating back to the 2007-08 season, which includes an 8-3 (.727) record on the road. USU has also won back-to-back WAC Championships sharing the regular season title in 2008 with a 12-4 record and winning the outright title in 2009 with a 14-2 mark. During the last two-plus years, USU is 26-7 (.788) in WAC play.
Utah State is 78-67 (.538) on the road under head coach Stew Morrill, which includes a 54-39 (.581) record against conference opponents and a 17-16 (.515) WAC record. During the last two-plus years, Utah State is 13-7 (.650) on the road and 15-9 (.625) away from home.
Utah State is 9-2 this year and 217-23 (.904) over the last 11 years when leading at the half. Conversely, USU is 1-3 this year and 38-57 (.400) during the last 11 years when trailing at halftime.
Utah State is one of just three teams in the nation to win at least 23 games in each of the last 10 seasons along with Gonzaga and Kansas. During the last 10 years, Utah State has averaged 25.2 wins per season.
Utah State head coach Stew Morrill (277-96) is the winningest coach in school history and is second all-time in games coached (373) behind the legendary E. Lowell Romney (382). Morrill is also the second-longest tenured coach at USU (12th season) behind Romney (1920-41).
Utah State (10-5, 0-1) will continue Western Athletic Conference play on Monday, Jan. 4 at Louisiana Tech (13-2, 1-0) at 6 p.m. (MT). The game is not televised.
UTAH STATE PLAYING FIVE OF ITS FIRST SEVEN WAC GAMES ON THE ROAD
Utah State is playing five of its first seven Western Athletic Conference games on the road this year. The last time a USU team had a similar schedule to begin league play was during the 1999-2000 season when that team played four of its first six Big West Conference games on the road. Furthermore, last year's Aggie team played four of its first seven league games away from home, winning all of them. The last USU team to play at least five of its first seven conference games on the road was during the 1992-93 season when that team played six of its first eight games away from home.
LOOKING AT UTAH STATE
Utah State is 10-5 on the season and 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference following its 55-52 road loss at New Mexico State Saturday night. USU is led by junior forward Tai Wesley who is averaging 14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, while shooting 58.5 percent from the field and 71.0 percent at the free throw line. Senior guard Jared Quayle is averaging 11.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 39.0 percent from the field, 43.1 percent from three-point range and 91.5 percent at the free throw line, and junior forward Nate Bendall is averaging 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds, while shooting 57.5 percent from the field and 81.6 percent from the free throw line. As a team, Utah State is averaging 72.5 points and is shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from three-point range and 77.9 percent from the free throw line. Defensively, USU is allowing 59.9 points per game and its opponents are shooting 40.4 percent from the field, 33.1 percent from three-point range and 74.9 percent from the free throw line.
WESLEY NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Junior forward Tai Wesley was named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference player of the week Monday after leading the Aggies to wins against Morehead State (79-72), Cal State Fullerton (83-60) and Weber State (85-73) in its own Basketball Travelers Invitational last week en route to earning Most Valuable Player honors. It is the first time in his career Wesley has been awarded the league's top weekly honor. Against the Eagles, Wesley had 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals, as he was 6-of-8 from the field and 6-of-9 at the free throw line. Against the Titans, he scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and had a season-high three blocks. And against the Wildcats, he scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 shooting at the free throw line, to go along with eight rebounds and a season-high six assists. For the tournament, Wesley averaged 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.7 blocks per game, while shooting 65.4 percent from the field (17-26) and 69.6 percent at the free throw line (16-23).
AGGIES GETTING SOLID PRODUCTION FROM ITS BENCH
Utah State is 8-2 on the season when its bench out-scores its opponent's bench and 2-3 when its bench is out-scored. Overall, USU's bench is averaging 20.0 points (300) and 8.9 rebounds (133) per game and had season-highs of 39 points versus Southern Utah and 18 rebounds versus Idaho State.
RANKING UTAH STATE IN THE WAC
As of Jan. 3, Utah State ranks first in the WAC in scoring defense (59.9), scoring margin (+12.7), rebound margin (+6.9), assists (15.80) and free throw shooting (.779). USU is also second in field goal percentage defense (.404), third in field goal percentage (.472) and three-point field goal percentage (.389), and fourth in three-point field goal percentage defense (.331). Individually, senior guard Jared Quayle ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.10), second in free throw shooting (.915), fifth in assists (4.33) and ninth in three-point shooting (.431). Junior forward Tai Wesley ranks fifth in field goal shooting (.585), ninth in blocked shots (1.13), 10th in rebounding (6.9), and 13th in scoring (14.0). Junior forward Nate Bendall ranks seventh in field goal shooting (.575), 10th in blocked shots (1.00), 11th in free throw shooting (.816) and 12th in rebounding (6.6). Junior guard Tyler Newbold ranks 14th in assists (2.80) and 14th in three-point shooting (.382), and junior guard Pooh Williams ranks 12th in three-point shooting (.405).
UTAH STATE LEADING THE NATION IN FREE THROW SHOOTING
As of Dec. 21, Utah State ranks first in the nation in free throw percentage (.795), 19th in turnovers per game (11.2), 25th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.35) and 37th in scoring defense (59.6). Individually, senior guard Jared Quayle ranks 25th in free throw shooting (.903) and junior forward Tai Wesley ranks 48th in field goal shooting (.563).
Utah State will take the week off before it returns to action on Monday, Jan. 11 when it hosts Hawai'i (7-7, 0-1) at 7 p.m., in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. USU will then play at Nevada (8-6, 0-1) on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 9 p.m. (MT) in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2, followed by another home game against Boise State (9-5, 0-1) on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m., in a game that will be televised live on CW30.
RECAPPING THE NEW MEXICO STATE GAME
Jonathan Gibson scored a game-high 19 points, including the final two of the game, to lead New Mexico State to a hard-fought 55-52 win against Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams Saturday night at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. New Mexico State, who snapped a three-game losing streak to Utah State with the win, improves to 8-6 on the season, while Utah State falls to 10-5 overall with the loss. Tai Wesley led Utah State with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Tyler Newbold had 12 points and four boards. Wendell McKines was the only other NMSU player to score in double-figures as he finished the game with 10 points and five rebounds. Utah State trailed by 11 at 53-42 with 6:52 to play before it slowly chipped away at the deficit and got within one point at 53-52 with 47 seconds to play following a three-pointer from Pooh Williams. NMSU then scored its first points in over six minutes on a 15-foot jumper from Gibson to give the home team a three-point advantage with 17 seconds left in the game. USU's Williams then missed a contested three-pointer at the top of key with five seconds to play to end the game as neither team could secure the rebound before the final horn sounded. Utah State finished the game by shooting 47.9 percent from the field (23-48), but shot just 23.1 percent from three-point range (3-13) and was just 3-of-5 (.600) at the free throw line. USU also out-rebounded NMSU, 31-26, but committed 15 turnovers in the game as compared to 10 for New Mexico State. New Mexico State shot 42.9 percent for the game (21-49), including 37.5 percent from behind the arc (6-16) and 70.0 percent at the free throw line. Utah State scored nine straight points early on to take a quick 9-3 before New Mexico State went on 17-4 run over a 6:52 stretch to take its biggest lead of the half at 20-13 with 8:04 to play. USU then scored nine of the next 11 points to tie the score at 22-all and NMSU went into the locker room with a 27-24 advantage at the break. Wesley had eight first-half points to lead Utah State as it shot 45.8 percent from the field (11-24), 16.7 percent from three-point range (1-6) and was just 1-of-2 at the free throw line. McKines had seven first-half points to lead New Mexico State as it shot 43.5 percent (10-23), including 3-of-7 (.429) from behind the arc and 4-of-6 (.667) at the free throw line.
NOTE-ABLES FROM THE NEW MEXICO STATE GAME
Utah State scored a season-low 52 points and had season-lows in both free throws made (3) and attempted (5)... USU also had just seven assists which are its second-fewest in a game this year... USU tied its season-low with three made three-pointers... NMSU's nine steals are tied for the most by a USU opponent this year, while its 10 turnovers are tied for the fewest by a USU opponent... NMSU's 10 fouls are the fewest by a USU opponent this year... Tai Wesley played a season-high 35 minutes and Jared Quayle tied his season-high with two steals.
UTAH STATE PLAYING SOLID DEFENSE WITHOUT FOULING
One of Utah State's trademarks under head coach Stew Morrill is to play solid defense without fouling and that is exactly what this year's team is starting to do. During its first three games of the year, USU was averaging 20.7 fouls per game, but during its last 12 games it is averaging just 16.1 fouls and had a season-low 10 fouls against Western Oregon. On the season, USU is 7-0 when it commits fewer fouls than its opponents.
AGGIES LOSE GAME DESPITE HOLDING ITS OPPONENT UNDER 60 POINTS
Utah State has traditionally been very successful when holding its opponents under 60 points as it was 5-0 this year in such games before losing at New Mexico State, 55-52. In fact, USU had won 57 straight such games before losing to Marquette, 58-57, in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Overall, USU had won 78 of its last 79 games when allowing fewer than 60 points before its loss at NMSU. Under Coach Morrill, USU is 144-12 (.923) when holding its opponents under 60 points.
UTAH STATE TURNS IT OVER 15 TIMES AT NEW MEXICO STATE
After averaging 16.3 turnovers during its first three games, Utah State was averaging just 9.6 turnovers during its last 11 games before committing 15 turnovers at New Mexico State Saturday night. On the season, USU is averaging 11.3 turnovers per game which ranks 19th in the nation. Overall, USU has committed single-digit turnovers in five games this year.
UTAH STATE HAS WON THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS IN EVERY GAME EXCEPT ONE THIS YEAR
Utah State has out-rebounded every opponent except Morehead State this year as the Eagles had a 28-26 advantage against USU on the boards. Those 26 rebounds against MSU are a season-low for the Aggies. On the year, Utah State has a rebound margin of +6.9 boards per game to rank first in the WAC.
As of Jan. 3, Utah State has an RPI of 130 and a strength of schedule of 225 according to RealTimeRPI, while the WAC is ranked 11th as a conference. USU also has a sagarin rating of 88 according to USAToday.com.
DID YOU KNOW?
The last time Utah State lost a basketball game when allowing 55 or fewer points was when it lost to Central Florida, 55-52, in the second round of the 2004 Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska.
SCOUTING LOUISIANA TECH
Louisiana Tech is 13-2 on the season and 1-0 in the Western Athletic Conference following its 77-71 home win against Nevada Saturday night. The Bulldogs, who are 6-0 at home this year, are led by senior guard Kyle Gibson who leads the WAC in scoring with 21.3 points per game. Senior forward Magnum Rolle is averaging 12.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game, senior guard Jamel Guyton is averaging 12.7 points, sophomore forward Olu Ashaolu is averaging 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds, and junior guard DeAndre Brown is averaging 10.8 points per game. As a team, Louisiana Tech is averaging 80.2 points per game and shooting 47.1 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three-point range and 70.9 percent at the free throw line. Defensively, LTU is allowing 71.0 points per game and its opponents are shooting 42.2 percent from the field, 37.2 percent from three-point range and 69.1 percent at the free throw line. The Bulldogs return three starters and seven letterwinners from last year's team that went 15-18 overall and finished in sixth-place in the WAC with a 6-10 league mark. Kerry Rupp is 34-44 in his third year as the head coach of Louisiana Tech and 43-48 in four years as a collegiate head coach.
UTAH STATE-LOUISIANA TECH SERIES
Utah State and Louisiana Tech will meet for the 10th time on Monday with the Aggies owning an 8-1 all-time advantage, which includes a 3-1 road record. Utah State has won each of the last four meetings in the series including a 50-37 win in Ruston on Jan. 8, 2009. The only time LTU has won a game in the series was on Feb. 24, 2007 in Ruston, 84-71. USU won the first four games played in the series, including a 68-64 win in the semifinals of the 2006 WAC Tournament. USU won the last meeting between the two teams by a score of 60-52 in Logan on Feb. 7, 2009.
VERSUS THE STATE OF LOUISIANA
Utah State is 17-7 all-time against teams from the state of Louisiana as it is 8-1 against Louisiana Tech, 2-1 against Centenary, LSU and Tulane, 1-1 against New Orleans, 1-0 against Grambling, 1-1 against Northwestern State and 0-1 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
UTAH STATE-LOUISIANA TECH CONNECTIONS
Louisiana Tech assistant coach Curtis Condie graduated from Utah State in 1994 and served as an administrative assistant for the men's basketball team under then head coach Larry Eustachy. Condie was also an assistant coach at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah during his time in the Cache Valley.
UTAH STATE IN JANUARY
Utah State is 71-21 (.772) in games played in January under Coach Morrill, which includes a 28-18 (.609) road record. USU had won nine straight games played in January and 14 of its last 15 overall before its 55-52 loss at New Mexico State. Utah State is also 9-7 (.563) in known games played on Jan. 4 and 13-5 (.722) in games played on Monday under Morrill.
VERSUS THE WAC
Utah State is 196-103 (.656) all-time against current members of the WAC and the Aggies have a winning record against every team in the league. In 2006, USU finished in a tie for second-place with an 11-5 league record and advanced to the conference's championship game. In 2007, USU finished in fourth-place with a 9-7 mark and advanced to the WAC Tournament championship game for the second straight year. In 2008, Utah State won a share of its first-ever WAC regular season championship as it went 12-4 during the year. And in 2009, Utah State won its first-ever outright WAC regular season title with a 14-2 league record and its first-ever WAC Tournament championship.
Stew Morrill VERSUS THE WAC
Stew Morrill is 107-76 (.585) all-time in WAC games, which includes a 46-19 (.708) record at Utah State and a 61-57 (.517) record at Colorado State. Morrill is 108-68 (.614) all-time against current members of the WAC, which includes a 79-30 (.725) record at USU.
LAST MEETING AGAINST THE BULLDOGS
Utah State used a 17-0 run spanning the last two minutes of the first half and the opening six minutes of the second stanza to pave the way for the Aggies' 60-52 hard fought win against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 7, 2009 in Logan. USU was led by senior forward Gary Wilkinson's game-high 16 points and sophomore guard Tyler Newbold's 13 points. Newbold and sophomore forward Tai Wesley had seven rebounds apiece, as Newbold snared six of his in the first half, while junior guard Jared Quayle dished out eight assists, matching his season-high. Louisiana Tech was led by Kyle Gibson's 14 points, while Olu Ashaolu added 12 points off the bench. Four players had a team-best five rebounds each, as the Bulldogs had a slight 29-27 rebounding edge, including 15 offensive boards. Saturday's first half was reminiscent of the peach-basket days of basketball, as Louisiana Tech's defense put the clamps on Utah State in the early going, holding USU scoreless for the first six minutes of the game while opening a 5-0 lead. A dunk from freshman forward Brady Jardine later tied the score at 9-9 before USU led 15-11 on a three-point play by Wilkinson with 4:20 on the first-half clock. The Bulldogs tied it at 17-all with 1:35 to go in the half on a jumper from Magnum Rolle, but the Aggies closed out the half with five unanswered points, all on free throws, taking a 22-17 intermission lead. Out of the break, Wesley hit a bucket followed by a Quayle three-pointer then a Wilkinson layup and the Aggies were up 29-17 just two and a half minutes into the second stanza. Sophomore guard Pooh Williams capped the 17-0 run with a three-pointer from the left wing as the shot clock was winding down, and USU had LTU doubled-up at 34-17 at the 14:30 mark. David Jackson ended the Bulldog scoring drought with a three-pointer, but the Aggies maintained a double-digit lead until a Gibson jumper pulled LTU within 44-36 with 7:19 to play. After USU opened a 12-point gap at 52-40 with 4:43 to play on a Wilkinson dunk-and-one, the Bulldogs hit back-to-back three-pointers and a layup by Ashaolu to trim the margin to six. However, the Aggies hit 6-of-7 at the free throw line to keep the Bulldogs at bay and secure the win. USU ended the night hitting 15-of-17 (.882) at the charity stripe, while netting 19-of-40 (.475) from the field, including 7-of-15 (.467) from three-point range. Louisiana Tech was 38.2 percent (21-55) field goal shooting, hitting 4-of-20 (.200) behind the arc, while making a perfect 6-of-6 free throws.
LAST MEETING AGAINST THE BULLDOGS IN RUSTON
Senior forward Gary Wilkinson scored a game-high 17 points, including eight in the final 4:28, as Utah State scored the final 13 points to notch a 50-37 road win against Louisiana Tech on Jan. 8, 2009. Sophomore guard Tyler Newbold added 10 points for Utah State, while junior guard Jared Quayle had a team-high seven rebounds. USU's next leading scorer was sophomores Matt Formisano and Pooh Williams with four points each. However, nine of the 10 Aggies that played in the game scored. Kyle Gibson finished with a team-high 10 points for Louisiana Tech and also added a game-high eight rebounds. Utah State trailed by as many as nine points in the first-half as was down 24-18 early in the second-half before back-to-back three pointers from Newbold and freshman guard Jaxon Myaer tied it at 24-all. Utah State later took its first lead since early in the game on a baseline jumper from Formisano to make it 28-27 with 12:42 to play. Neither team led by more than three points over the next seven minutes before Utah State finished the game on a 13-0 run as it held Louisiana Tech scoreless for the final 5:29 of the contest. USU began its game-clinching run via a three-pointer from Quayle, his only basket all night, followed by a jump hook and a pair of free throws from Wilkinson. Pooh Williams then added a runner on the baseline, followed by a dunk from Wilkinson and a layup from Newbold to end the scoring. Utah State took an early 4-2 lead on baskets from Wilkinson and Pooh Williams before Louisiana Tech went on a 7-0 run and lead 13-5 midway through the first-half. The Bulldogs extended its lead to 19-10 on a jumper by Jamel Guyton with 5:34 to play, but the home team didn't score again as USU scored the final eight points of the half to cut the lead to 19-18 at the break. After shooting just 28.6 percent in the first-half (6-21) and committing 10 turnovers, Utah State shot 56.5 percent in the second-half (13-23) and turned the ball over just three times. USU finished the game by shooting 43.2 percent (19-44), including 5-of-21 from three-point range (.238) and a season-low 50.0 percent from the free throw line (7-14). Louisiana Tech shot just 32.6 percent for the game (14-43) and made just 6-of-21 second-half attempts (.286). LTU was also 3-of-11 from behind the arc (.273) and 6-of-10 from the charity stripe. Utah State continued its dominance on the boards as it out-rebounded LTU, 32-29. USU also forced the Bulldogs into 16 turnovers on the night.
BENDALL RETURNS FROM HEART SURGERY
Junior forward Nate Bendall had started each of Utah State's first 12 games of the season and was averaging 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.08 blocks per game, while shooting 59.0 percent from the field and 80.9 percent from the free throw line before missing two games due to heart surgery. Bendall had a minor procedure called a heart ablation to treat an atrial flutter on December 23. Prior to his surgery, Bendall had scored in double-figures in five of his last seven games and was averaging 11.9 points and 6.3 rebounds during that stretch, while shooting 53.7 percent from the field (29-54) and 75.8 percent at the free throw line (25-33). In his first game since his surgery against New Mexico State, Bendall had a season-low four points on 1-of-4 shooting to go along with five rebounds in 25 minutes.
NIANG HAS CAREER NIGHT AGAINST WEBER STATE
Redshirt sophomore center Modou Niang had a career night against Weber State on December 23 as he scored a career-high 13 points, had a career-high seven rebounds and played a career-high 24 minutes off the bench. In the game, Niang was 5-of-6 from the field and 3-of-6 from the free throw line. Entering the game against the Wildcats, Niang had scored just 10 points and grabbed just six rebounds on the season in 33 minutes. His previous career-highs were eight points and six rebounds against Cal Poly on Nov. 29, 2008 in Logan.
NIANG MAKES FIRST CAREER START AGAINST WESTERN OREGON
Following his breakout game against Weber State, redshirt sophomore center Modou Niang made his first career start against Western Oregon on December 29 and scored nine points to go along with six rebounds as he was 4-of-4 from the field and 1-of-2 at the free throw line. He also played a career-high 26 minutes against the Wolves.
NIANG DURING HIS LAST THREE GAMES
Redshirt sophomore center Modou Niang has been a different player for Utah State during his last three games as he is averaging 8.0 points and 4.7 rebounds, while shooting 71.4 percent from the field (10-14) in 19.7 minutes per game. During the first 33 games of his career, Niang averaged just 1.3 points and 1.5 rebounds, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field (14-28).
JARDINE SCORES CAREER-HIGH 11 POINTS AGAINST WESTERN OREGON
Sophomore forward Brady Jardine had posted a career-high in scoring in each of his last three games before scoring just two points at New Mexico State. In his previous three games, he had seven points and four rebounds against Cal State Fullerton, eight points and six rebounds against Weber State and 11 points and six rebounds against Western Oregon. During his last four games, Jardine is averaging 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds, while shooting 72.7 percent from the field (8-11) and 92.3 percent at the free throw line (12-13).
NEWBOLD POSTS FIRST CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE AGAINST WESTERN OREGON
Junior guard Tyler Newbold posted his first career double-double against Western Oregon in his last game as he had 11 points to go along with a career-high 11 rebounds.
NEWBOLD SCORES IN DOUBLE-FIGURES IN THREE OF HIS LAST FIVE GAMES
Junior guard Tyler Newbold has now scored in double-figures in three of his last five games after scoring 12 points against New Mexico State. During his last five games, Newbold is averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, while shooting 54.3 percent from the field (19-35), 50.0 percent from three-point range (11-22) and 71.4 percent at the free throw line (5-7).
WESLEY PUTTING UP MONSTER NUMBERS DURING HIS LAST SEVEN GAMES
Junior forward Tai Wesley has scored in double-figures in each of his last seven games as he is averaging 16.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 blocks per game during that stretch, while shooting 65.7 percent from the field (46-70) and 67.6 percent at the free throw line (23-34). Overall, he has scored in double-figures in 13 of USU's last 14 games.
QUAYLE CONTINUES TO REBOUND THE BALL
Senior guard Jared Quayle ranked as the fourth-best rebounding point guard in the nation during his junior season with an average of 6.0 boards per game, and he has picked up right where he left off last year as he is currently averaging 6.1 boards per game this season. Overall, Quayle has recorded five double-digit rebound games in his career including two this year.
QUAYLE AND WILLIAMS NAMED TO BASKETBALL TRAVELERS INVITATIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Senior guard Jared Quayle and junior guard Pooh Williams joined teammate Tai Wesley on the Basketball Travelers Invitational all-tournament team, along with Maze Stallworth and Kenneth Faried of Morehead State, and Kyle Bullinger and Damian Lillard of Weber State. Quayle averaged 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game, while shooting 32.3 percent from the field (10-31), 50.0 percent from three-point range (6-12) and 91.7 percent at the free throw line (11-12). Williams averaged 8.3 points and 3.3 assists, and shot 52.9 percent from the field (9-17), 57.1 percent from behind the arc (4-7) and 42.9 percent at the charity stripe (3-7).
FOUR RETURNING STARTERS IN THE LINEUP
Junior guard Tyler Newbold has started 75 straight games at Utah State, which is the longest streak on the team. Junior forward Tai Wesley has started 55 straight games and 74 of the last 75 overall. Senior guard Jared Quayle has started 48 straight games, and junior forward Pooh Williams has started 46 games during his career.
WESLEY CLOSING IN ON 1,000 CAREER POINTS
Junior forward Tai Wesley has scored 979 points in his Utah State career and is now just 21 points away from becoming the 34th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. In 85 career games, Wesley is averaging 11.52 points per game.
PLAYERS WHO HAVE SCORED 1,000 CAREER POINTS UNDER COACH MORRILL
In his 12th year at Utah State, Stew Morrill has had six players score 1,000 career points which is the second-most by any coach in school history behind Rod Tueller (1980-88) who had seven players score 1,000 points. The six players who have reached the 1,000 point plateau under Morrill are Jaycee Carroll (2005-08) who is the school's record holder with 2,522 career points; Tony Brown (1999-2002) who ranks eighth all-time with 1,564 career points; Nate Harris (2003-06) who ranks 11th all-time with 1,475 career points; Spencer Nelson (1999, 2003-05) who ranks 17th all-time with 1,283 career points; Gary Wilkinson (2008-09) who ranks 28th all-time with 1,065 career points; and Desmond Penigar (2002-03) who ranks 29th all-time with 1,051 career points.
WESLEY DISHES OUT 200TH CAREER ASSIST AGAINST WESTERN OREGON
Junior forward Tai Wesley recorded his 200th career assist against Western Oregon and currently ranks 25th in school history with 203 career assists. Wesley also has 473 career rebounds and is 70 boards shy of entering the top 20 all-time in school history in that category.
WESLEY RANKS FOURTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN FIELD GOAL SHOOTING
Junior forward Tai Wesley is shooting 60.6 percent from the field (360-594) during his USU career, which ranks fourth all-time behind Nate Harris (2003-06) who shot 64.1 percent, Greg Houskeeper (1988-89) who shot 62.2 percent, and Spencer Nelson (1999, 2003-05) who shot 61.7 percent.
WESLEY RANKS FIFTH ALL-TIME IN BLOCKED SHOTS
In just 85 career games, junior forward Tai Wesley already ranks fifth all-time at Utah State with 79 career blocks. Wesley is now 11 blocks shy of tying Nate Harris (2003-06) for fourth all-time with 90 blocks.
NEWBOLD RANKS FOURTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN THREE-POINT SHOOTING
Junior guard Tyler Newbold is shooting 42.0 percent (120-286) from three-point range during his career, which ranks fourth all-time at Utah State. Jaycee Carroll (2005-08) is the school's all-time leader in three-point shooting at 46.5 percent.
NEWBOLD RANKS SIXTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN THREE-POINTERS MADE
Junior guard Tyler Newbold has made 120 three-pointers in his Utah State career, which ranks sixth all-time in school history. He also ranks seventh all-time in three-point attempts with 286. Newbold is now 63 made three-pointers shy of tying Justin Jones (1996-98) for fifth-place all-time with 183 made three-pointers and 18 three-point attempts shy of tying Troy Rolle (1999-2000) for sixth-place all-time with 304 three-point attempts.
NEWBOLD RANKS 23RD ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN ASSISTS
Junior guard Tyler Newbold has 210 assists in his career to rank 23rd-place all-time in school history. Newbold is now 10 assists shy of tying Nate Harris (2003-06) for 22nd-place with 220 career assists.
QUAYLE APPROACHING 200 CAREER ASSISTS
In just his second year in the program, senior guard Jared Quayle has 198 career assists and is just two assists shy of becoming the 26th player in school history with 200 career assists, joining current teammates Tyler Newbold and Tai Wesley.
QUAYLE RANKS 10TH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN THREE-POINTERS MADE
Senior guard Jared Quayle ranks 10th all-time at Utah State in three-pointers made with 84 and is seven three-point attempts shy of entering the top 10 in that category. Quayle is 10 made three-pointers shy of tying Curtis Bobb (2000-01) for ninth-place in career made three-pointers with 94.
QUAYLE RANKS 10TH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN FREE THROW SHOOTING
Senior guard Jared Quayle is shooting 91.5 percent from the free throw line (43-47) this year, which would rank second all-time at Utah State for a single-season behind only Tony Brown (1999-2002) who shot 92.1 percent from the charity stripe during his freshman season. Overall, Quayle ranks 10th all-time at USU in free throw shooting at 80.6 percent (137-170).
UTAH STATE PLAYER NOTES
#5 Pooh Williams - Scored a career-high tying 17 points against Southern Utah and had 15 points against both Saint Mary's and Utah Valley... Tied his career-high with six assists against Cal State Fullerton... Made a career-high four three-pointers against SUU... Averaging 7.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.4 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from three-point range and 54.5 percent at the free throw line... Has started 46 games during his USU career... Ranks 12th in the WAC in three-point shooting.
#12 Brian Green - Scored a season-high 13 points against Utah Valley and also had a season-high four rebounds against the Wolverines... Had season-highs with four assists and three steals against Southern Utah... Averaging 5.5 points and shooting 36.8 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from three-point range and 90.0 percent at the free throw line.
#13 Preston Medlin - Scored a career-high 17 points against Southern Utah as he was 5-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from three-point range... Averaging 4.6 points and shooting 44.2 percent, including 45.2 percent from three-point range.
#15 Modou Niang - Had career-highs with 13 points and seven rebounds against Weber State... Made his first career start against Western Oregon and played a career-high 26 minutes... Had a season-high two blocks against Southern Utah... Averaging 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds, while shooting 68.4 percent from the field and 57.1 percent at the free throw line.
#21 Jared Quayle - Scored a career-high 27 points at Utah and tied his career-high with 11 rebounds against the Utes to notch his fourth double-double... Also had 10 rebounds against Northeastern for his fifth-career double-figure rebounding game... Had a season-high seven assists against Idaho State and Morehead State... Has scored in double-figures eight times this year and 33 times in his career... Has seven career 20-point games... Averaging 11.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 39.0 percent from the field, 43.1 percent from three-point range and 91.5 percent from the free throw line... Currently ranks second in the WAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.10), is second in free throw shooting, fifth in assists and ninth in three-point shooting... Has started 48 straight games for USU.
#22 Brady Jardine - Scored a career-high 11 points against Western Oregon and had a season-high eight rebounds against Idaho State... Had a season-high two blocks against Utah Valley and Cal State Bakersfield... Averaging 3.7 points and 3.7 rebounds, while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 88.0 percent at the free throw line.
#23 Tyrone White - Has played in nine games this year and is averaging 5.0 minutes per contest... Scored two points against Utah Valley and Western Oregon.
#24 Tyler Newbold - Recorded his first career double-double against Western Oregon with 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds... Averaging 8.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, while shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 38.2 percent from three-point range and 83.3 percent at the free throw line... Scored a season-high 15 points at Weber State and against Morehead State... Has scored in double-figures seven times this year and 27 times in his career, including two 20-point games... Has started 75 straight games for USU which is the longest active streak on the team... Ranks 14th in the WAC in assists and is 14th in three-point shooting.
#25 Jaxon Myaer - Scored a season-high nine points at Northeastern as he tied his career-high with three made treys against the Huskies... Averaging 2.4 points and is shooting 38.5 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from three-point range and 70.0 percent at the free throw line... Has scored in double-figures twice in his career.
#35 Nate Bendall - Scored a career-high 18 points and had a career-high five blocks against Morehead State... Posted his first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds at Utah... Had 14 points and 10 rebounds against BYU... Has scored in double-figures eight times this year and has two double-doubles... Averaging 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds, while shooting 57.5 percent from the field and 81.6 percent at the free throw line... Ranks seventh in the WAC in field goal shooting, 10th in blocked shots (1.00), 11th in free throw shooting and 12th in rebounding.
#42 Tai Wesley - Scored a season-high 22 points at Long Beach State.... Recorded his first double-double of the season at Cal State Bakersfield as he had 15 points and a season-high 10 rebounds... Averaging 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 58.5 percent from the field and 71.0 percent from the free throw line... Has scored in double-figures 13 times this year and 57 times in his career... Has scored 20-plus points six times in his career and has seven double-doubles... Has started 55 straight games and 74 of its last 75 overall... Ranks fifth in the WAC in field goal shooting, ninth in blocked shots (1.13), 10th in rebounding and 13th in scoring.
#44 Matt Formisano - Made his first career start against Weber State... Scored a season-high seven points against Morehead State... Had a season-high four rebounds against BYU and Saint Mary's... Averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds, while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 80.0 percent at the free throw line.
AGGIES SCHEDULE LOADED WITH POSTSEASON GAMES
Of its 31 regular season games scheduled this year, Utah State will play at least 13 games against teams who participated in postseason play last year. Utah State's non-conference schedule consists of seven games against postseason teams from a year ago as the Aggies will host Brigham Young, Morehead State, Saint Mary's and Weber State, and travel to Northeastern, Utah and Weber State. BYU, who will be making its first visit to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in four years, has played in the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons, while Morehead State and Utah also played in the Big Dance last season. Saint Mary's and Weber State both participated in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) a year ago, while Northeastern participated in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Other postseason teams from the 2008-09 season on Utah State's schedule include Idaho, who played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, and Boise State and Nevada who both appeared in the CBI.
UTAH STATE PICKED TO REPEAT AS WAC CHAMPIONS
Utah State's men's basketball team is picked to repeat as Western Athletic Conference champions according to both the league's coaches and media as the WAC announced its preseason polls Tuesday, Oct. 20. Utah State received eight first-place votes and 64 points in the coaches poll, while Nevada received one first-place vote and 53 points. New Mexico State received 50 points and was picked to finish third, followed by Idaho (42), Louisiana Tech (31), Fresno State (30), Boise State (23), San Jose State (19) and Hawai'i (12). In the media poll, Utah State garnered 15 first-place votes and 273 points, while Nevada was second with 269 points and 12 first-place votes. New Mexico State, who received 226 points and six first-place votes was picked third, while Idaho (193) and Boise State (145) rounded out the top five. Louisiana Tech (140) was picked sixth, followed by Fresno State (130), San Jose State (88) and Hawai'i (66). The Spartans also received one first-place vote in the media poll.
QUAYLE AND WESLEY NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-WAC TEAMS
Senior point guard Jared Quayle and junior forward Tai Wesley were both named to the WAC's various preseason teams as Quayle was named to the first-team by both the coaches and media, while Wesley was named to the coaches second-team.
QUAYLE ONE OF 30 CANDIDATES FOR LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Utah State's Jared Quayle has been named one of 30 candidates for the 2009-10 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which is presented annually to the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year. It is the third year in a row that a Utah State player has been named one of 30 national candidates for this award as Jaycee Carroll was selected as one of 10 finalists in 2008 and Gary Wilkinson was one of 30 candidates in 2009. Quayle, a 6-1 senior guard from Perry, Utah is the only player from the state of Utah and the only player from the WAC to be selected for this award.
UTAH STATE GRADUATES WAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR AGAIN
Utah State lost three lettermen from last season, including one starter in Gary Wilkinson who was named the WAC's Player of the Year as he averaged 17.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and shot 58.0 percent from the field and 82.6 percent from the free throw line. USU also lost the WAC Player of the Year in 2008 in guard Jaycee Carroll who averaged 22.4 points and 6.0 rebounds, and shot 52.6 percent from the field, 49.6 percent from three-point range and 91.9 percent from the free throw line.
UTAH STATE LEADS THE WAC WITH ALL-ACADEMIC HONOREES
Utah State had six players earn academic all-WAC honors during the 2008-09 season (Matt Formisano, Brady Jardine, Tyler Newbold, Jared Quayle, Gary Wilkinson, Stavon Williams), while the other eight teams in the league combined for 10 academic all-WAC honorees.
UTAH STATE AMONG THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY
Over the last 11 years, Utah State has been one of the best basketball programs in the country, recording a 262-823 (.759) record. Those 262 wins are the 10th-most in the country, while the 75.9 percent winning percentage is fifth-best behind Duke (.831), Kansas (.810), Gonzaga (.798) and Memphis (.760). USU has also been among the top teams in the country in field goal and free throw shooting as it led the nation in both categories during the 2008 season, and led the nation in field goal shooting in 2009 at 49.6 percent.
UTAH STATE IN THE WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Since joining the Western Athletic Conference prior to the 2005-06 season, Utah State has been one of the most consistent programs in the league and has the second-best record in WAC games during the last four years with a 46-19 (.708) mark. During its first four years in the league, Utah State has won two regular season championships (2008, 2009), one tournament championship (2009), and has played in the tournament championship game three times (2006, 2007, 2009).
AGGIES LEAD THE NATION IN SHOOTING FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON
Utah State shot 49.6 percent from the field during the 2008-09 season to lead the nation for the second straight year (USU shot 51.4 percent in 2008 to lead the nation). USU also led the nation in field goal shooting during the 2004-05 season as it shot 52.5 percent. Utah State is the first team to lead the nation in shooting in consecutive seasons since UCLA did it in 1996 and 1997, and just the eighth team in the history of the NCAA to accomplish the feat. George Washington is the only school to lead the nation in three straight years as it accomplished that feat from 1954-56. USU's current run of being the top shooting team in the nation in three of the last five years is the best-ever streak in the history of NCAA Division I basketball.
UTAH STATE'S FALL SIGNING CLASS RANKED BEST IN THE WAC BY ESPN.COM
Utah State's fall recruiting class has been tabbed as the best in the WAC according to ESPN.com. The results are based solely on high school players. Utah State announced three players during the early signing period including a pair of prep stars in Ben Clifford and James Walker. USU also signed one junior college player in Brockeith Pane. Clifford is a 6-8, 215-pound senior forward at Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah and Walker is a 6-2, 180-pound senior guard at Los Alamitos High School in Los Alamitos, Calif. Both players will enroll as freshman at USU in the fall of 2010. Scouts Inc.'s Paul Biancardi, Joel Francisco, Reggie Rankin, Michael LaPlante, John Stovall and Adam Finkelstein all contributed to the ESPN.com report.
AGGIES WIN OLD OQUIRRH BUCKET FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR AND NINTH TIME OVERALL
Following its 85-73 win against Weber State on Dec. 23, Utah State's men's basketball team finished the 2009-10 season with a 5-1 record against in-state opponents to win the Old Oquirrh Bucket for the second-straight season and ninth time overall. Utah State's other in-state wins this year include victories against Weber State (66-60), Southern Utah (89-49), Brigham Young (71-61) and Utah Valley (87-56), while its only loss was at Utah (68-67). The Old Oquirrh Bucket (named after the Oquirrh Mountains located to the west of Salt Lake City) is the symbol of in-state basketball supremacy in Utah. Every year since the 1974-75 season the trophy has been awarded to the in-state college team (Brigham Young, Southern Utah, Utah, Utah State, Utah Valley and Weber State), which has the best winning percentage against in-state competition. Of Utah State's nine Old Oquirrh Bucket titles, four have come under the direction of current head coach Stew Morrill (2002, 2005, 2009, 2010). USU also won the title three straight years under Rod Tueller (1983, 1984, 1985) and Dutch Belnap's 1975 and 1976 teams won the first two titles in the trophies history. Utah has won the bucket 14 times, followed by Utah State and BYU with nine victories each, and Weber State with four.
UTAH STATE IN THE DEE GLEN SMITH SPECTRUM
Utah State is 167-13 (.928) in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum under head coach Stew Morrill, which includes an 83-5 (.943) record against non-league opponents. USU is 460-106 (.813) in this its 40th year in the building. Overall, Utah State has won five straight home games and 57 of its last 59 home games dating back to the 2005-06 season with its only losses during that stretch coming against Saint Mary's, 68-63, on Dec. 5, 2009 and against Fresno State, 71-66, on March 3, 2007. USU has also won 70 of its last 73 home games against non-conference opponents.
THE MORRILL COACHING TREE
Utah State head coach Stew Morrill currently has five former assistants who are head coaches at the Division I level, which ranks tied for the fourth-most by any current Division I coach in college basketball. Morrill's former assistants who are current head coaches include Terry Dunn (Dartmouth), Jeff Jackson (Furman), Randy Rahe (Weber State), Blaine Taylor (Old Dominion) and Don Verlin (Idaho). Arizona State's Herb Sendek has the most assistants who are currently Division I head coaches with eight, followed by Louisville's Rick Pitino with seven and Connecticut's Jim Calhoun with six. Other coaches with five assistants as current Division I head coaches include Ben Braun of Rice, Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Jay Wright of Villanova.
UTAH STATE RETURNS PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE
Utah State's four returning starters have a combined 239 games played while at Utah State including 186 starts, while its four other returnees have a total of 136 games played at USU. If you add Nate Bendall's 13 games played while at freshman at USU during the 2005-06 season, Utah State returns a total of 388 games played in. Furthermore, Utah State's seven returning lettermen from the 2008-09 roster are the most since the 2004-05 season when USU returned seven lettermen.
QUAYLE ONLY SENIOR ON AGGIE ROSTER
Utah State has just one senior on its roster for the second straight year in guard Jared Quayle. Prior to the 2008-09 season, the last time a USU team had just one senior on its roster was during the 1999-2000 campaign in guard Troy Rolle. That team finished the season with a 28-6 record, including a perfect 16-0 mark in the Big West Conference. The 2008-09 team also did pretty well with just one senior on its roster as it went 30-5 overall and won the WAC with a 14-2 league record.
UTAH STATE FROM THREE-POINT RANGE
Utah State has made at least one three-point basket in 110 straight games and the last time USU did not make a three-pointer in a game was on Dec. 16, 2006 in Provo as BYU defeated the Aggies, 75-62. USU entered that game having made at least one three-pointer in 127 games dating back to Dec. 14, 2002 when BYU held USU without a three-pointer in a 66-56 win in Provo.
AGGIES HAVE HAD SIX DIFFERENT PLAYERS LEAD THE TEAM IN SCORING THIS YEAR
Through 15 games, Utah State has already had six players lead the team in scoring as junior forward Tai Wesley has led the team eight times, senior guard Jared Quayle and junior guard/forward Pooh Williams has led the team in scoring four times each, while junior forward Nate Bendall, junior guard Tyler Newbold and freshman guard Preston Medlin have each led the team in scoring once.
HEAD COACH Stew Morrill
In his 24th season as a collegiate head coach and 12th year at Utah State, Stew Morrill has taken the Aggie Basketball program to unprecedented heights leading it to an incredible 277-96 (.743) record, including a 138-47 (.746) conference mark in the Big West and WAC. Morrill became the winningest coach in school history on Jan. 17, 2008 in the Aggies' 82-78 win against Boise State, passing E. Lowell Romney (1920-41) who won 225 games in 22 seasons. In his first 11 years at USU, Morrill has guided the Aggies to 10 straight 23-win seasons and 10 straight postseason appearances (NCAA-6, NIT-4), both of which are school records. Morrill has also led Utah State to the fourth-best winning percentage in the nation during the last 10-plus years at 75.9 percent with an overall record of 262-83. Against conference opponents, Utah State has a 159-53 record with five regular season league championships and five tournament titles during that time, including appearances in its league's tournament championship game eight times in the last 10 years. Under Morrill, Utah State has notched 10 of the top 12 seasons in school history during the last 10 years as the Aggies set a school record with 28 wins during the 2000 season, tied that record with 28 wins during the 2001 season, and set a new school record with 30 wins in 2009. During the 2008-09 season, Morrill guided Utah State to its second straight Western Athletic Conference regular season championship and its first WAC Tournament title. The 2008-09 Aggie basketball team also led the nation in field goal shooting at 49.6 percent, marking the second straight year and the third time in the last last five years that USU has led the nation in that category. For the 10th straight year, USU had at least one player earn first-team all-league accolades as Gary Wilkinson was named the WAC Player of the Year in 2009, while Jaycee Carroll was named the league's MVP in 2008. Overall, Morrill has coached 11 first-team all-league players at Utah State who have won the award a total of 16 times. Morrill has also taken full advantage of the home court at USU, the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. In Morrill's 12 years, USU is an amazing 167-13 (.928) at home, which includes an 84-8 (.913) record in league play. As for Morrill, he has won 20 or more games on 14 different occasions during his career, and he has won at least 17 games 20 times. Overall, Morrill ranks 23rd in the nation among active coaches and 96th all-time with his 495 career wins, while his career winning percentage of 67.9 percent ranks 28th among active coaches and 100th all-time. He is also one of 27 active coaches with 400 career wins at the Division I level and one of just 13 active coaches to notch at least 14 20-win seasons. His current streak of 10 straight 20-win seasons ranks ninth among active coaches and is tied for the 13th-longest streak ever at the Division I level. Morrill has also been named Coach of the Year (2000 BWC, 2002 BWC, 2009 WAC) three times in his 11 years at USU, along with winning the Big Sky award while the head coach at Montana in 1991. His overall coaching record is 495-234 (.679).