Morrill Leads USU Men's Basketball Into Fort Collins To Face CSU Tuesday
Feb. 10, 2014
Stew Morrill leads his current team into his old stomping grounds of Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday, Feb. 11 to face Colorado State (14-10, 5-6 MW), where Morrill coached for seven years from 1992-98 before coming to Utah State. The Aggies and Rams will lock horns at 7:15 p.m. (MT) at CSU's Moby Arena (8,745), and will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.
Ari Wolfe will provide play-by-play and Jarron Collins providing analysis. While it will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network (Comcast Ch. 269/753HD in Cache Valley, Dish Network Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221), Tuesday's game will not be video streamed online. It will also be aired on the radio and audio streamed online on the Aggie Sports Network through on USU's website, www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Utah State head coach Stew Morrill and USU associate coach Tim Duryea both coached at CSU, with Morrill as head coach for the Rams from 1992-98, posting a 121-86 (.585) record there. Duryea, who is in his 13th season at USU, began his coaching career in 1988 at Colorado State, being on the Rams' bench for the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons under head coach Boyd Grant. Tuesday is Morrill and Duryea's first time returning to CSU since being at USU.
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy was head coach at Utah State from 1994-98, being replaced by Morrill from CSU after Eustachy left USU for Iowa State. Eustachy posted a 98-53 (.649) during his five seasons at USU.
Morrill enters Tuesday with 598 career wins, needing two more to become the 14th active Division I head coach and the 41st all-time Division I head coach with 600 wins. Saturday's Aggie victory gave Morrill 300 career conference wins, with 49 at Montana, 61 at Colorado State and currently 190 at Utah State.
Utah State and Colorado State will be meeting for the 89th time in school history, which is USU's fifth-oldest rivalry in school history. The Aggies and Rams, who also used to be known as Aggies, first met during the 1925-26 season, with USU winning, 39-23. USU is making its first trip to Fort Collins since Jan. 3, 1998. Utah State holds a palindromic, 53-35 series advantage. The Aggies' 57-50 win earlier this season on Jan. 15 snapped the Rams' five-game win streak in the series. USU is 5-17 in known games played at Fort Collins, losing its last four trips there. The Aggies' last win at CSU was on Jan. 14, 1976, 72-62.
Morrill is 4-1 in the USU-CSU series, as he is currently 1-1 in the series as the Aggies' head coach and he was 3-0 against USU during his seven seasons as head coach at Colorado State (1992-98).
USU senior guard Preston Medlin became the 36th player in USU history to reach the 1,000 career points plateau, and now with 1,275 career points, has climbed up to No. 19 and enters Tuesday needing eight points for the No. 18 position, held by Spencer Nelson (1999, 2003-05) with 1,283 points, nine points for the No. 17 spot held by Shaler Halimon (1967-68) and seven points for the No. 16 spot held by Mike Santos (1975-78) with 1,287 points.
Medlin also needs one three-pointer to become the fifth Aggie player with 200 career treys, while fellow senior, guard/forward Spencer Butterfield needs two three-pointers for 100 career triples.
USU leads the Mountain West overall statistics in three-point field goal percentage (.416), rebound margin (+6.6), assists (17.0) and assist-turnover ratio (1.5). The Aggies are also second in free throw percentage (.737) and field goal percentage (.472), while ranking fourth in both three-point field goal percentage defense (.319) and scoring defense (66.7). USU is also fifth in field goal percentage defense (.424) and rebounds (36.1), as well as sixth in blocks (4.1), seventh in both scoring (71.8) and scoring margin (+4.9) and 11th in steals (3.3).
Individually, senior guard Preston Medlin is second in the league in both assists (4.3) and assist-turnover ratio (3.3), while ranking tied for third in three-point field goals made (2.4) and 20th in scoring (13.3). Senior center Jarred Shaw is 12th in the conference in scoring (14.8), ranking fourth in field goal percentage (.484), seventh in blocks (1.4), eighth in free throw percentage (.806), and ninth in rebounding (7.9). Fellow senior, guard/forward Spencer Butterfield is tied for 17th in scoring (13.5), 13th in rebounding (6.1) and eighth in three-point field goals made (2.2). Sophomore forward Kyle Davis is sixth in blocks (1.5) and eighth in rebounds (7.9). Fellow sophomore, guard Marcel Davis, is third in assist-turnover ratio (2.8) and ninth in assists (3.1).
The Rams improved to 14-10 overall and 5-6 in MW action after a pair of wins last week, playing in their third palindromic score after losing at Nevada, 76-67, on Jan. 29 and at No. 5 San Diego State, 65-56 on Feb. 1, bouncing back to beat UNLV, 75-57, on Feb. 5 at home. CSU won at Air Force, 68-56, on Saturday. Junior forward J.J. Avila led the Rams with a double-double with game highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds, while junior guard Jon Octeus added 18 points, hitting 10-of-11 free throws, while sophomore guard Joe De Ciman posted 15 points.
Avila leads CSU and ranks fifth in the MW in scoring at 17.4 ppg, also ranking 10th in the league in rebounding at 8.5 rpg. He is also seventh in the conference in field goal percentage (.470, 149-of-317), as well as sixth in assists (3.3) and 10th in steals (1.2). Junior guard Daniel Bejarno is 11th in the conference in scoring at 15.6 ppg and also ranks seventh in rebounding (8.5). He is also sixth in assist-turnover ratio (2.1), seventh in both free throw percentage (.808) and assists (3.3), eighth in steals (1.2) and ninth in minutes played (34.1). Octeus adds 12.5 ppg and leads CSU in three-point percentage (35.6 percent, 16-of-45).
*** Continued in game notes
USU returns home to host UNLV on Saturday, Feb. 15 in another Saturday afternoon contest, as the battle between the Aggies and Rebels will tip-off at 2 p.m. (MT) and will also be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.
For Utah State men's basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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