March 12, 2011
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -
Complete Release in PDF Format
No. 17/23 Utah State (29-3) vs. Boise State (20-11)
Saturday, Mar. 12, 2011 * 8 p.m. (MT) * Las Vegas, Nev.
Orleans Arena (7,471) * Aggie Radio Network * ESPN2
GAME DAY HEADLINES
Utah State is in its 106th season of basketball this year and has an overall record of 1,457-1,005 (.592). USU hasn't had a losing season since 1993, a span of 17 years.
Utah State is ranked in the top 25 (17th in coaches' poll and 23rd in AP poll) for the seventh straight week, which is the longest streak since the 1970-71 team was ranked for 11 straight weeks.
Utah State is playing in the finals of its conference tournament for the third straight year including the fifth time in its six years in the Western Athletic Conference and for the 10th time in the last 12 years. USU is 1-3 in title games in the WAC and 5-4 in championship games under head coach Stew Morrill.
Utah State is playing in the championship game of its conference tournament for the 14th time in school history and has a 7-6 (.538) record in its previous 13 title games.
Utah State is 3-2 (.600) in championship games as the No. 1 seed, which includes a 69-63 loss to New Mexico State in last year's title game. All-time, Utah State is 15-6 (.714) as the top seed in 10 postseason tournaments.
Utah State is 24-7 (.774) in conference tournaments under Morrill, which includes a 14-4 (.778) record in the WAC Tournament. USU is now 37-25 (.597) all-time in conference tournaments, while Morrill is 31-18 (.633) all-time.
Utah State is 19-10 (.65) against current members of the WAC in tournament play which includes a 2-4 record in title games.
Utah State is looking for its eighth tournament championship as it won six postseason titles in 27 years as a member of the Big West Conference, and won its first-ever WAC Tournament Championship in 2009.
Utah State's 29 wins rank as the third-most in the country as Kansas and San Diego State both have 31 wins, while Belmont, BYU and Ohio State all have 30 wins.
Utah State (29-3) is one of just five teams in the nation with three or fewer losses along with San Diego State (31-2), Kansas (31-2), Ohio State (30-2) and BYU (30-3).
Utah State (29-3, 15-1), who is ranked No. 17 in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 23 in this week's Associated Press Poll, and the top seed in the 2011 WAC Tournament will play second-seeded Boise State (20-11, 10-6) in the championship game of the tournament on Saturday, Mar. 12 at 8 p.m. (MT). The game will be televised live nationally on ESPN2 with Dave Flemming (play-by-play) and Sean Farnham (analyst) calling the action. The game will also be aired live on KVNU 610 AM/95.9 FM in Cache Valley and 1320 AM along the Wasatch Front.
UTAH STATE HAS SECOND-MOST WINS IN SCHOOL HISTORY
With its 58-54 win against San Jose State in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament, Utah State improved to 29-3 on the season and those 29 wins are the second-most in school history behind the 2008-09 team that won 30 games.
UTAH STATE ON ESPN
Utah State will be making its eighth appearances on the ESPN family of networks in the championship game of the WAC Tournament against Boise State Saturday on ESPN2. USU is 5-2 in games played on ESPN this year and has won 33 of its last 44 games on the Entertainment Sports Network.
UTAH STATE'S RECORD AS A RANKED TEAM UNDER MORRILL
With its No. 17 national ranking this week, Utah State has now been ranked during three different seasons (2004, 2009, 2011) under Morrill. In those three seasons, Utah State has played a total of 30 games as a top 25 team and went 8-3 as a ranked team during the 2003-04 season, 4-3 during the 2008-09 campaign and 11-1 thus far this year for a combined record of 23-7 (.767) as a top 25 team.
LOOKING AT UTAH STATE
Utah State is 29-3 on the season following its 58-54 win against San Jose State in the quarterfinals of the 2011 WAC Tournament. USU is led by senior forward Tai Wesley who is averaging 14.5 points and 8.0 rebounds, while shooting 59.4 percent from the field and 71.5 percent at the free throw line. Junior guard Brockeith Pane is averaging 11.4 points and 3.4 assists, while shooting 43.0 percent from the field, 20.5 percent from three-point range and 78.6 percent at the free throw line. Senior guard Brian Green is averaging 10.6 points and shooting 47.9 percent from the field, 46.5 percent from three-point range and 73.6 percent at the free throw line. Senior guard Pooh Williams is averaging 8.6 points and shooting 37.5 percent from the field, 37.0 percent from three-point range and 81.5 percent at the free throw line. And junior forward Brady Jardine is averaging 7.7 points and 7.1 rebounds, while shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 63.9 percent at the free throw line. As a team, Utah State is averaging 72.0 points and shooting 46.8 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from three-point range and 73.2 percent at the free throw line. Defensively, USU is allowing 57.9 points and its opponents are shooting 38.2 percent from the field, 30.5 percent from three-point range and 66.3 percent at the free throw line.
UTAH STATE DURING ITS SEVEN-GAME WINNING STREAK
During its current seven-game winning streak, Utah State is averaging 74.0 points, while shooting 47.7 percent from the field, 38.2 percent from three-point range and 77.4 percent at the free throw line. Defensively, USU is allowing 56.0 points during its last seven games while its opponents are shooting 36.7 percent from the field, 29.1 percent from three-point range and 65.1 percent at the line.
CURRENT SENIOR CLASS WINNINGEST GROUP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Utah State's current senior class that includes four-year players Matt Formisano, Tyler Newbold, Tai Wesley and Pooh Williams are the winningest players in school history with a four-year record of 109-27 (.801). Nate Harris (2003-06) was the winningest player in school history as he had a four-year record of 96-30 (.762).
As of Saturday, Mar. 12, Utah State has an RPI of 18 and a strength of schedule of 123 according to RealTimeRPI.com, while the Western Athletic Conference is ranked 13th.
RECAPPING THE SAN JOSE STATE GAME
Senior forward Tai Wesley had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Utah State to a hard-fought 58-54 win against upstart San Jose State Friday in the semifinals of the 2011 Western Athletic Conference Tournament. Wesley, the WAC's Player of the Year, posted his seventh double-double this season and the 16th of his career for Utah State, while fellow senior forward Nate Bendall also had 12 rebounds for his seventh career double-figure rebounding game. Junior guard Brockeith Pane had a game-high 16 points for the top seed and senior guard Pooh Williams finished with seven points. Adrian Oliver, the nation's third-leading scorer at 24.6 points per game, had 16 points to lead San Jose State as he was 6-of-19 from the field, 3-of-10 from three-point range and 1-of-3 at the free throw line. Utah State took its largest lead of the game at 44-34 with 14:23 to play following a pair of free throws from Bendall before San Jose State fought back to within one at 50-49 with 7:19 remaining on a layup from Matt Ballard. USU increased its lead to five at 56-51 with 2:38 to play following a Wesley tip-in. SJSU then scored the next three points to get back within two and USU missed the front end of two free throws giving the Spartans the ball down two in the waning seconds only to see Oliver miss a deep three-pointer from the top of the key with five seconds to play. Wesley then made a pair of free throws to make the final score 58-54. Utah State finished the game with its second-lowest shooting performance of the season at 37.0 percent (20-54). USU was also just 3-of-14 (.214) from three-point range, but did convert 15-of-21 (.714) free throws. San Jose State shot just 37.3 percent (19-51), including 26.3 percent from behind the arc (5-19) and 73.3 percent at the charity stripe (11-15). SJSU did out-rebound USU by one (36-35), but also had two more turnovers in the game (12-10). Utah State scored the first seven points of the game and San Jose State answered with eight straight points. USU took its largest lead of the half at 29-24 with 2:15 remaining following a layup from freshman guard James Walker III and went into the locker room up four at 33-29.
UTAH STATE SURVIVES LOW SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
Utah State had its second-lowest shooting performance of the season against San Jose State in the semifinals of the 2011 WAC Tournament as it shot just 37.0 percent from the field (20-54) and just 21.4 percent from three-point range (3-14). For USU, it is just the second time this year it has shot under 40 percent from the field along with its season-low 33.8 percent shooting performance at Idaho (22-65). Overall, it is just the second time this year that Utah State has shot under 40 percent from the field.
UTAH STATE OUT-REBOUNDED FOR JUST SEVENTH TIME THIS YEAR
Utah State was out-rebounded for just the seventh time this year against San Jose State, 37-36, but is 5-2 when it is out-rebounded. It was also the second time this year that USU was out-rebounded by SJSU.
UTAH STATE WINNING THE CLOSE GAMES
With its 58-54 win against San Jose State in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament, Utah State is now 4-0 on the season in games decided by five or less points. Overall, USU has won five straight games decided by five or fewer points with its last loss coming at New Mexico State, 55-52, last year.
LEADING AT THE HALF
Utah State is 24-0 this year and has won 48 straight games when leading at the half. The last time USU lost when leading at the half was on Nov. 21, 2009 at Northeastern. Over the last 12 years, USU is 255-23 (.917) when leading at the half and 42-62 (.404) when trailing at the half.
AGGIES UNDEFEATED THIS YEAR WHEN HOLDING ITS OPPONENTS UNDER 60 POINTS
Utah State is 20-0 this year and has won 28 straight games dating back to last season when allowing fewer than 60 points. The last time USU lost a game when allowing fewer than 60 points was on Jan. 2, 2010 at New Mexico State, 55-52. Overall, USU is 176-9 (.951) under Morrill when holding its opponents under 60 points.
AGGIES HARD TO BEAT WHEN SCORING 70 POINTS
Utah State is 19-1 this year and has won 60 of its last 62 games when scoring at least 70 points.
WESLEY NOTCHES 16TH CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Senior forward Tai Wesley recorded his seventh double-double of the season and 16th of his career with 14 points and 12 rebounds against San Jose State in his last game. It was also his 17th career double-figure rebounding game. Wesley has now scored in double-figures 26 times this year and 99 times in his career, including in each of his last nine games.
PANE SCORES IN DOUBLE-FIGURES FOR 20TH TIME THIS YEAR
Junior guard Brockeith Pane scored in double-figures for the 20th time this year with his 16 points against San Jose State, which ranks second on the team behind Wesley (25). Overall, Pane has scored in double-figures in four of his last five games.
BENDALL RECORDS SEVENTH CAREER DOUBLE-FIGURE REBOUNDING GAME
Senior forward Nate Bendall recorded his fourth double-figure rebounding game this year and the seventh of his career with 12 boards against San Jose State.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE
Boise State is 20-11 on the season and has won eight straight games following its 81-63 win against New Mexico State in the semifinals of the 2011 WAC Tournament. The last time Boise State lost a game was on Feb. 5 in Logan to Utah State, 77-49. BSU is led by senior guard La'Shard Anderson who is averaging 15.4 points and 4.8 assists per game, while shooting 43.8 percent from the field, 32.7 percent from three-point range and 79.5 percent at the free throw line. Senior forward Robert Arnold is averaging 12.6 points, senior forward Paul Noonan is averaging 10.5 points and senior forward Daequon Montreal is averaging 10.3 points per game. As a team, Boise State is averaging 74.1 points per game and shooting 43.6 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from three-point range and 72.0 percent at the free throw line. Defensively, BSU is allowing 67.0 points and its opponents are shooting 45.2 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from three-point range and 70.3 percent at the free throw line. The Broncos return three starters and six letterwinners from last year's team that went 15-17 and finished in eighth-place in the WAC with a 5-11 league mark. Leon Rice is in his first year as a collegiate head coach.
UTAH STATE-BOISE STATE SERIES
Utah State and Boise State will be meeting for the 36th time this weekend with the Aggies owning a 27-8 all-time record against the Broncos, which includes a 17-0 record at home, an 8-7 record on the road and a 2-1 record on neutral courts. USU has won five straight games in the series including a 68-59 win in Boise and a 77-49 win in Logan this year. The last time Boise State won a game in the series was on Feb. 14, 2009 in Boise, 66-56, to snap USU's school-record tying 19-game winning streak. Overall, USU has won 21 of the last 26 games played in the series. Utah State head coach Stew Morrill is 17-4 against Boise State while at USU and 23-11 against the Broncos all-time.
UTAH STATE VERSUS BOISE STATE IN POSTSEASON PLAY
Utah State and Boise State will be playing one another in the postseason for the fourth time with USU holding a 2-1 advantage. It will also be the first-ever meeting between the two teams in a tournament championship game. The last time USU played BSU in tournament play was in the quarterfinals of the 2010 WAC Tournament with the Aggies posting an 84-60 win. In the 2008 WAC Tournament, the Broncos notched an 88-78 win against USU in the semifinals, and in the 2001 Big West Conference Tournament, Utah State recorded a 67-48 win in a semifinal game.
VERSUS THE STATE OF IDAHO
Under head coach Stew Morrill, Utah State is 49-8 (.860) versus teams from the state of Idaho, which includes a 17-4 record against Boise State, a 23-4 record against Idaho and a 9-0 record versus Idaho State.
AGGIES FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Utah State has one player on its current roster who is from the state of Idaho in junior forward Brady Jardine. Jardine prepped at Twin Falls HS and was named the Idaho Gatorade and 5A Player of the Year as a senior in 2005 as he averaged 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in leading them to a 24-2 record and the school's first state championship in 32 years.
LAST MEETING BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND BOISE STATE IN 2011
Utah State hit its first six shots on the way to an early 15-2 lead and the No. 21/22 Aggies blasted the Broncos of Boise State, 77-49, on Feb. 5 at a sold-out Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. After missing its first eight shots in the first meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 13 in Boise, USU hit its first six shots of the game Saturday on the way to only missing 15 shots all game, shooting a season and WAC-best 64.3 percent (27-of-42) from the floor. Senior forward Tai Wesley had a game-high 22 points. The guard duo of senior Pooh Williams and junior Brockeith Pane netted 10 points apiece while the forward pair of senior Nate Bendall and junior Brady Jardine added eight points each. Bendall led USU with seven rebounds while Wesley and Jardine snared six boards each on the way to a 31-27 Utah State rebounding advantage. Pane also dished out a game-best seven assists, part of the Aggies' 20 helpers on the night. The USU defense also swiped eight steals, with Wesley tallying a season-best three steals while Bendall and Jardine logged two apiece. Boise State was led by Robert Arnold's 12 points off the bench while Ryan Watkins added 11 points to go with a game-high eight rebounds. The Aggie defense held BSU leading scorer La'Shard Anderson scoreless, as he entered the game averaging 15.1 points. Besides their 27-of-42 (64.3 percent) field goal shooting, the Aggies were 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from three-point range, as well as 18-of-22 (81.8 percent) at the free throw line. The Broncos shot a paltry 33.9 percent (19-of-56) from the field, making 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) of their three-pointers and were just 6-of-10 (60.0 percent) at the charity stripe. After Thomas Bropleh hit a layup to open a 2-0 lead for BSU, Wesley scored six-straight points to start USU's 15-0 run that Pane capped with a pair of free throws at the 15:24 mark and the Aggies led by double-digits from there on out. Daequon Montreal broke BSU's four and a half minute scoring drought with a layup. A three-pointer from the left wing by freshman guard James Walker III gave the Aggies their first 20-point lead of the night at 39-18 with 2:53 remaining in the opening half. Junior forward Morgan Grim hit a long jumper from the top of the arc with 43 ticks to go for USU's largest lead of the half and sent the Aggies into halftime with a 43-21 lead. The Aggie advantage swelled to 30 for the first time at 54-24 on a pair of Bendall free throws with 16:53 left and reached its largest of the night at 34 on a three-point play by Wesley with 12:49 to play and USU coasted to the victory. A total of 12 Aggies saw action with 10 different players scoring, the most players posting points since 10 also scored in USU's 80-39 win over Troy earlier this season on Dec. 23.
FIRST MEETING BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND BOISE STATE IN 2011
Junior guard Brockeith Pane had 19 points and eight rebounds and senior reserve guard Brian Green scored 16 points to lead Utah State to a turnover filled 68-59 road win at Boise State on Jan. 13, 2011. Utah State committed a season-high 22 turnovers including 14 in the final 20 minutes. Pane finished the game shooting 8-of-14 from the field for his 19 points, while Green was 5-of-7 overall including making 5-of-6 from three-point range for his 16 points. Senior guard Tyler Newbold finished with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists for Utah State, while junior forward Brady Jardine had eight points and five boards. Robert Arnold led all scorers with 20 points for Boise State and Westly Perryman had 12. Utah State held a 33-21 lead at the half but quickly saw that margin cut to three points as Boise State started the second-half on a 9-0 run. USU regrouped and extended its lead back to 11 at 44-33 on a layup by Jardine only to see the Broncos go on a 7-0 run to get within four as the Aggies committed turnovers on three-straight possessions against Boise State's full-court press. BSU closed to within two points at 52-50 with 7:32 to play but could get no closer as the Aggies maintained a six to nine point lead for the remainder of the game en route to its 68-59 win. Utah State shot 51.0 percent overall (26-51), including 42.9 percent from three-point range (9-21) and 58.3 percent at the free throw line (7-12). USU also out-rebounded the Broncos by five (41-36) improving to 14-0 on the season when it wins the battle of the glass. Boise State finished the game shooting just 32.3 percent (20-62), including just 20.8 percent from behind the arc (5-24) and 60.9 percent at the charity stripe (14-23). Boise State scored the first six points of the game as Utah State missed its first eight shots and didn't score until 14:50 to play in the half on a three-pointer from Newbold. USU took its first lead of the half at 14-13 on a layup by Pane and then went on an 11-0 run to turn a 17-17 tie into a 28-17 advantage for the visitors. USU finished the half making four-straight treys as it took a 33-21 lead into the locker room Green led Utah State with 12 first-half points as he was 4-of-4 from three-point range. In the first-half, USU shot 44.8 percent from the field (13-29) and 46.7 percent from three-point range (7-15). The Aggies did not attempt a free throw in the first half.
LAST MEETING BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND BOISE STATE IN THE WAC TOURNAMENT
Utah State used a pair of double-doubles from senior guard Jared Quayle and junior forward Tai Wesley to run past Boise State, 84-60, in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Mar. 11, 2010 at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev. Quayle recorded a career-high 13 rebounds in the game to go along with 13 points and four assists, while Wesley finished the game with 18 points, a season-high tying 10 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals. Junior guards Pooh Williams and Brian Green both scored a career-high 18 points, as Williams had 13 after halftime while Green scored 12. Junior guard Tyler Newbold had seven points and seven boards for the home team. Daequon Montreal had 16 points to lead Boise State, while Robert Arnold had 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Leading by just two at 37-35 early in the second half, Utah State used a 9-0 run to take a 46-35 lead with 16:28 to play. Boise State then went on a 9-2 run to get back within four with 13:24 remaining, but USU answered with a 10-0 run to lead by 14 and the Broncos never got within single digits again. USU's margin swelled to 20 with just over a minute to go following a layup from sophomore forward Brady Jardine and Newbold finished the scoring with a pair of free throws to give the top-seed its largest lead of the game with the final score of 84-60. Utah State ended the game on a 13-3 run during the final 5:14. Utah State finished the game by shooting 52.5 percent from the field (32-61), 44.4 percent from three-point range (8-18) and 75.0 percent at the free throw line (12-16). Boise State shot just 37.7 percent (23-61), including 31.6 percent from behind the arc (6-19) and was just 8-of-13 (.615) at the free throw line. Utah State dominated the glass and recorded a season-high in rebounds with its 47-27 advantage. USU did, however, commit double-digit turnovers for the first time in seven games as it finished with 15 miscues. Utah State scored the first six points of the game on baskets by junior forward Nate Bendall, Quayle and Williams forcing a quick timeout by the Broncos. BSU responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 points and later led 12-11 with 14:08 to go in the half before the Aggies scored seven unanswered points to regain control of the game. USU later used a 10-2 run to take a 28-16 lead with 6:12 to play following a three-pointer from sophomore guard Jaxon Myaer. USU led by eight at 35-27 with five seconds remaining in the half after a pair of free throws by Quayle, but BSU's Paul Noonan hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to get the Broncos within 35-30 at the break. Quayle had nine first-half points, while Wesley scored eight, as USU shot 46.7 percent (14-30) during the first 20 minutes, including 5-of-10 (.500) from behind the arc. BSU shot 37.1 percent (13-35) in the first stanza and was just 1-of-8 (.125) from three-point range, but forced eight Aggie turnovers to keep the game close.
DID YOU KNOW?
Senior forward Paul Noonan is the only player on Boise State's current roster that played against Utah State in the semifinals of the 2007 WAC Tournament as he had no stats in one minute. Utah State has three current players who played in that game in seniors Tyler Newbold, Tai Wesley and Pooh Williams. Newbold had 16 points as he was 5-of-8 from the field, 4-of-6 from three-point range and 2-of-3 at the free throw line. Wesley had four points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots, while Williams had two points off the bench. BSU won the game, 88-78.
#3 Brockeith Pane - Has scored in double-figures four times in his last five games... Averaging 15.0 points and 3.8 assists in last five games, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field (21-46) and 80.0 percent at the free throw line (32-40)... Has 15 assists and just five turnovers in his last four games... Has scored in double-figures in both of his games against Boise State this year and is averaging 14.5 points against the Broncos this season.
#5 Pooh Williams - Averaging 6.4 points in his last five games, while shooting 30.3 percent from the field (10-33) and 27.8 percent from three-point range (5-18)... Has made his last nine free throws and his last miss from the line was against Boise State at home on Feb. 5.... Has scored in double-figures four times in his career against Boise State, including a then career-high 18 points in last year's quarterfinal game of the WAC Tournament.
#15 James Walker III - Averaging 3.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists during his last two games, while shooting 60.0 percent from the field (3-5) and 33.3 percent from three-point range (1-3)... Has seven assists and just three turnovers in his last four games.
#21 Morgan Grim - Averaging 3.0 points and 1.0 rebounds during his last two games, while shooting 75.0 percent from the field (3-4).
#22 Brady Jardine - Averaging 5.3 points and 4.4 rebounds during his last seven games, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field (16-32) and 80.0 percent at the free throw line (4-5)... Did not have a rebound in his last game for the first time this year... Has one career double-figure scoring game against the Broncos.
#23 Brian Green - Has scored in double-figures four times in his last seven games... Averaging 10.4 points during his last seven games, while shooting 55.8 percent from the field (24-43), 53.3 percent from three-point range (16-30) and 64.3 percent at the free throw line (9-14)... Has scored in double-figures three times in five career games against Boise State and is averaging 11.4 points against the Broncos, while shooting 66.7 percent from the field (20-30) and 75.0 percent from three-point range (15-20).
#24 Tyler Newbold - Has scored in double-figures twice in his last three games... Averaging 9.7 points and 6.0 rebounds during his last three games, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field (10-20) and 41.7 percent from three-point range (5-12)... Is 16-of-18 from the free throw line in his last 11 games... Has three career double-figure scoring games against Boise State, including 16 points against the Broncos as a freshman in the semifinals of the 2008 WAC Tournament.
#35 Nate Bendall - Has scored in double-figures three times in his last seven games... Averaging 8.9 points and 7.4 rebounds during his last seven games, while shooting 48.9 percent from the field (23-47) and 88.9 percent at the free throw line (16-18).
#42 Tai Wesley - Has scored in double-figures in each of his last nine games... Averaging 16.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in his last six games, while shooting 59.7 percent from the field (37-62) and 70.6 percent at the free throw line (24-34)... Has had at least six rebounds in each of his last 12 games... Has scored in double-figures seven times in his career against Boise State including two 20-point games... Averaging 13.0 points in 10 career games against the Broncos, while shooting 60.8 percent from the field (48-79) and 70.2 percent at the free throw line (33-47).