Weekly Basketball Release For The Week Of Dec. 11

Dec. 11, 2000

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Up Next: Utah State will travel to Provo, Utah this weekend to face its oldest rival in Brigham Young University on Satuday, Dec. 16, at 4:07 p.m. in the Marriott Center. It will be the 217th meeting between the two schools. The game will be broadcasted throughout the state of Utah on SportsWest (KSL) Television.

A Look At Brigham Young: Brigham Young is 4-2 on the season, winners of its last two games over Florida International (78-50) and Rice (59-49). BYU will face Southern Utah in Provo on Thursday night before meeting the Aggies. The Cougars also beat UC Santa Barbara (67-53) and Elon College (100-63). BYU's two losses this year have come on the road at San Francisco (70-80) and at Arizona State (52-80). The Cougars have won its last nine games at home dating back to last season. Senior forward Mekeli Wesley leads the team with 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while senior guard Terrell Lyday is second on the team with 13.8 points per game. As a team, the Cougars are averaging 71.0 points per game and allowing 62.5 points per outing. Head coach Steve Cleveland is in his fifth year at BYU and has an overall record of 47-50. Last year, BYU went 22-11 on the year and finished in sixth-place in the Mountain West Conference with a 7-7 league mark. The Cougars advanced to the third round of the National Invitational Tournament last year before losing at Notre Dame by a 64-52 final. BYU returns four starters and five letterwinners from last year's squad.

Versus The Cougars: This will be the 217th meeting between Utah State and BYU this weekend, in the oldest rivalry in USU history. The Cougars hold a 131-85 all-time advantage over Utah State. The Aggies are 30-76 all-time in Provo and 55-53 at home. BYU has won the last two meetings between the two schools and four of the last five. The last time USU defeated BYU was on Nov. 29, 1997 by a 72-69 final in Logan. The last time the Aggies won in Provo was on Dec.10, 1985 by a final score of 88-76. USU has lost its last 11 games in Provo dating back to the `85 season.

Versus The Mountain West Conference: Utah State is 276-367 all-time versus the current members of the Mountain West Conference. The Aggies are 1-0 this year versus the MWC with a 58-57 win over No. 22 Utah. All-time, USU is 9-2 versus Air Force, 85-131 versus BYU, 49-34 versus Colorado State, 19-4 versus New Mexico, 3-0 versus San Diego State, 3-27 versus UNLV, 87-126 versus Utah, and 22-43 versus Wyoming. The Aggies are 1-3 in its last four meetings versus the Mountain West Conference.

Coach Morrill Versus BYU: Utah State head coach Stew Morrill is 7-9 all-time versus BYU. He was 7-7 against the Cougars while the head coach at Colorado State, and is 0-2 against BYU as head coach at Utah State.

Last Meeting With BYU: BYU gave Utah State its only home loss of the season last year on Jan. 8, 2000, by a final score of 82-73. The Cougars led 40-28 at the half and shot 50 percent from the field during the game, while USU shot just 39.4 percent. Four Aggies scored in double-figures in that game, led by Tony Brown's 18 points and eight assists. Dimitri Jorssen had 14 points and four rebounds, while Shawn Daniels added 10 points and nine rebounds. Former Aggie Troy Rolle, scored 11 points for USU and had 11 rebounds. Other current Aggies who scored in that game include Bernard Rock who had nine points and five assists, and Dan Stewart and Curtis Bobb who each had two points. Brennan Ray and Dion Bailey also played in that game but did not score. BYU had three players score in double-figures as Terrell Lyday scored a career-high 35 points, while Mekeli Wesley added 11. Former Cougar Silester Rivers had 15 points and seven rebounds in the game.

Next Week: Utah State will play two games next week before taking a couple of days off for Christmas. The Aggies will travel to UC Riverside on Wednesday, Dec. 20, before hosting Weber State at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, Dec. 23 at 7:05 p.m.

Home Away From Home: Utah State has had great success on the road as of late as the Aggies continued its school record for consecutive road wins with its 59-55 win at Idaho State on Nov. 29. USU has now won its last 10 road games dating back to last year. The last team to defeat Utah State on the road was Weber State on Dec. 21, 1999.

On A Roll: Since dropping a 82-73 decision to BYU on Jan. 8, 2000, Utah State has been nearly unbeatable in the regular season. The Aggies went on to win 16 straight games in the regular season last year and has opened this year with six wins in its first seven games. USU has won 22 of its last 23 regular season games, with its only loss coming to Austin Peay State in overtime.

Over At The Half: Utah State had made a habit of winning games on a regular basis when leading at half-time over recent years. In fact, USU had won its last 39 games when leading at the half before letting a 10-point half-time advantage slip away against Austin Peay State in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic. USU has however compiled a 46-2 mark when leading at halftime over its last 47 games.

Fast Start: With its 6-1 start to the 2000-01 season, USU is off to its 13th best start in school history. The last team to have this good of a start to the season was the 1984-85 team that opened the season with a 7-1 record. The best start ever to a season was accomplished by the 1934-35 team and the 1938-39 team who both began the year with 11-1 records.

Aggies Stiffle Montana Tech: Utah State recorded its most lopsided win in the past four years this past weekend against Montana Tech as the Aggies notched a 50-point win (79-29). It was the biggest winning margin for USU since the Aggies defeated Southern Oregon 111-61 on Nov. 22, 1997. The last time the Aggies held a team to fewer than 29 points was during the 1946 season when Clearfield scored 23 points. Montana Tech scored just 10 points in the first-half against USU which is the lowest point total allowed by an Aggie team in modern time.

Keep It Under 60: Utah State has been unbeatable as of late when its opponents score less than 60 points in a game. Thus far this year, USU is 3-0 when its opponents score less than 60 points, and the Aggies were 12-0 last season when its opponents didn't hit 60. The last time USU lost a game when its opponent didn't score 60 points was a 55-52 loss at New Mexico State on Feb. 25, 1999. Utah State is 15-0 since that game when allowing fewer than 60 points and 19-1 in two plus years under head coach Stew Morrill.

Long Range Bomber: Junior Tony Brown is on pace to become Utah State's all-time three-point shooter before his career is over. Brown is currently fourth all-time at USU in three-pointers made and attempted. The following is a breakdown of where Brown stands as of date on the USU career charts.

3-Pt. FG's Made		3-Pt. FG's Attemtped
1.  Reid Newey	237	1.  Jay Goodman	580
2.  Jay Goodman	209	2.  Reid Newey	572
3.  Justin Jones183	3.  Justin Jones408
4.  Tony Brown	142	4.  Tony Brown	355
5.  Troy Rolle	112	5.  Troy Rolle	304

11-Game Home Court Winning Streak: Utah State has won its last 11 games at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum dating back to Jan. 8, 2000. USU's last loss at home was a 82-73 decision to BYU. USU has won 24 of its last 25 games at home.

Come From Behind Wins: Utah State has started a new trend over the past couple of weeks, and that trend is to win after trailing at halftime. USU has trailed at the half in each of the last two games (Idaho State and Utah), and came back to win both contests. USU is 2-0 thus far this season when trailing at the half. Ironically, the Aggies won all of two games last year when trailing at the half and compiled a 2-6 mark.

Second-Half Defense: Utah State turned up its defensive pressure in the second half against Utah and allowed 19 points which was the fewest allowed by an Aggie team in the second half since Portland scored 19 in the championship game of the Gossner Foods Classic on Dec. 18, 1996. The last team to score that few of points in either half was Pacific who scored 18 in the first-half against USU in the first round of the Big West Tournament last year. Ironically, three nights later, Utah State allowed 19 second-half points to Montana Tech as well. Aggies Go When Brown And Daniels Go: It is becoming more and more apparent than the key to Utah State's success is related to Tony Brown and Shawn Daniels having good offensive nights. The Aggies have won its last 12 games when Brown scores in double-figures, and is 24-6 over the past two seasons when Daniels scores 10 or more points. Furthermore, Utah State is 9-0 when Daniels has a double-double and 6-0 when Brown scores 20 or more points in a single game.

Home Sweet Home: Utah State has had tremendous success at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum since the building was opened for the 1970-71 season. In its first 30 years, USU has had only one losing season at home, with a 3-8 record during the 1981-82 year. All-time, Utah State is 325-96 (.772) at home. Over the past three seasons, the Aggies have compiled an incredible 46-3 (.939) record at home. USU has won 56 of its last 59 games at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum dating back to the 1996-97 season.

Morrill Comfortable At Home: Utah State head coach Stew Morrill is very comfortable at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, and his record would confirm that fact. Since becoming USU's head coach prior to the 1998-99 season, Coach Morrill is 31-3 (.912) at home. The only other Aggie coach to have similiar success at the Spectrum was Dutch Belnap who went 31-1 in his first 32 games at home.

Sellout At The Spectrum: Utah State had its 20th sellout at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum this past Wednesday against Utah. The largest crowd ever to see a game at the Spectrum was on Jan. 20, 1973 when 11,114 fans packed the house to see the Aggies face BYU.

Head Coach Stew Morrill: Stew Morrill (Gonzaga, 1974) is entering his third season at the helm of the Utah State men's basketball program after posting an incredible 43-19 record at USU in his first two years, which is the best record by any coach at Utah State in their first two seasons. During the past two years, Morrill has coached two first-team all-league players in Shawn Daniels and Troy Rolle and has had an 80 percent graduation rate. He has been involved in postseason action four times in his career, including the NCAA Tournment last season. He has twice been named Coach of the Year, winning the award in 1991 at Montana, and this past season at Utah State after guiding the Aggies to a perfect 19-0 league mark in winning the Big West Conference. He is only the third coach in the history of the Big West Conference to go undefeated in the league, joining Lou Henson and Jerry Tarkanian. Prior to coming to Utah State, Morrill had been the head coach at Colorado State University for seven seasons, recording a 121-86 record (1992-98). Prior to his stint at CSU, Morrill spent five seasons as the head coach at the University of Montana (1987-91), where he went 97-52. During his 14 years as a head coach, Morrill's teams have won at least 20 games five times and have won at least 17 games in 11 of his 14 seasons as a head coach. He was the second winningest coach at Colorado State behind only Boyd Grant, and his 15 wins at Utah State in 1998-99 were the most by a first-year head coach since 1980.

Aggies Favored To Win The Big West Again: After rolling through the Big West Conference season last year with a 19-0 mark, Utah State is once again picked to win the league by numerous preseason publications. The Sporting News has Utah State picked to finish first in the league and has the Aggies ranked 34th in the country in its preseason poll. Other preseason publications that have Utah State picked to win the Big West Conference include Preview Sports, Street & Smith Magazine, Lindey's, Athlon, and ESPN The Magazine.

Several Players Tabbed As All-League Performers This Year: Along with Utah State being the overwhelming favorite to win the Big West Conference in 2001, USU also has several players being tabbed all-league in different preseason publications. The Sporting News has Shawn Daniels and Bernard Rock as first-team all-league players and Dimitri Jorssen on the second-team. Daniels is also picked to be the Player of the Year by The Sporting News, as well as being the best rebounder in the leauge. It also has Tony Brown tabbed as the best shooter in the league, and Rock named the best playmaker. Preview Sports has Daniels and Rock on its all-league first-team in the Big West, with Daniels picked as the Player of the Year and top rebounder. Street & Smith has Daniels on its first-team list along with being named the Player of the Year, while Lindey's has Daniels first-team and Rock second-team. Lindey's picked Brown as the league's best shooter, Daniels the best rebounder, and Rock the best playmaker in the league. Athlon has Daniels as a first-team all-league player, and ESPN The Magazine has Daniels named to its first team and is selected as the Player of the Year, while Rock and Tony Brown are named to the second team. It also has the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum listed as the toughest arena in the Big West Conference to play in, and lists USU's front court as the best in the conference.

Aggies Sign Five: Head coach Stew Morrill inked five players during the early signing period in Mike Ahmad, Nate Harris, Spencer Nelson, Desmond Penigar, and Ronnie Ross. Ahmad, a 6-9, 225-pound forward is a sophomore at Irvine Valley (Calif.) Junior College. As a freshman, Ahmad averaged 13.5 points and eight rebounds per game en route to earning all-conference honorable mention honors. Harris, a 6-6, 205-pound forward, is a senior at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah, where he was a first-team all-state selection as a junior. He was also named the Region Four Most Valuable Player, and was named one of the top 12 players in the state of Utah last season by Frank Layden. Harris averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds as a junior, leading his team to a 28-0 region record over the past two seasons and three straight region championships. Nelson, a 6-7, 207-pound forward from Pocatello High School in Pocatello, Idaho averaged 4.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman for USU in 1999, where he appeared in all 28 games for the Aggies and averaged 12 minutes per game off the bench. Nelson has spent the last two years on an LDS Mission in Oklahoma. Penigar, a 6-7, 240-pound forward, is a sophomore at Ventura Junior College in California. As a freshman, Penigar was the second leading scorer (23 points per game) and rebounder (12) among California junior college players. The Sporting News magazine listed him as one of the top 10 junior college power forwards in the country. He was also a first-team all-conference and all-state selection. Ross, a 6-1, 185-pound guard from John Wood (Ill.) Junior College, was a first-team all-conference selection his freshman year after averaging 21 points, four rebounds and four assists per game. He was tabbed as the conference freshman of the year and was a first-team all-region selection. The Sporting News listed him as one of the top 10 shooting guards in the nation and he was named a preseason All-American heading into his sophomore season.

Recapping The Montana Tech Game: In the most lopsided win in the past four years, Utah State defeated Montana Tech 79-29 tonight at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as the Aggies shot a blistering 59.3 percent from the field and held the Orediggers to a 26.2 shooting percentage. USU improved to 6-1 on the year with the win, while Montana Tech dropped to 5-6 with the loss. The 50-point win for Utah State was the largest margin of victory since USU defeated Southern Oregon 111-61 on Nov. 22, 1997, while the 29 points allowed by the Aggies were the fewest since Clearfield scored 23 against USU during the 1946 season. The game was never really in doubt for Utah State, as the Aggies went on a 16-2 run after the game was knotted at two to open up a 14-point lead. USU extended that lead throughout the half and took a 33-point advantage into the locker room at halftime at 43-10. Utah State shot an amazing 70.8 percent from the floor in the opening half, while Montana Tech managed just four field goals and shot a mere 20 percent. The second half was no different than the first for Utah State as the Aggies continued to build its lead and had a 53-point advantage late in the game before finishing the contest with a 50-point win. Senior center Dimitri Jorssen (Theux, Belguim) scored a game-high 14 points, while fellow senior Bernard Rock (New York, N.Y.) had 12 points. Shawn Daniels (Bakersfield, Calif.) added eight points and eight rebounds on four-of-four shooting in just 15 minutes. With its 6-1 record, Utah State is off to its best start since the 1984-85 season when that Aggie team started the season with a 7-1 mark.

Daniels Among Select Company: Senior forward Shawn Daniels is among some select company as he has been selected to the CHI Mid-Major Preseason All-America Team which consists of 25 of the best college players in the country from Mid-Major university's. The 25 players selected where: Chris Bjorklund (Cal Poly), Brett Blizzard (UNC-Wilmington), Devin Brown (Texas-San Antonio), Casey Calvary (Gonzaga), Ian Chadwick (Wofford), Shawn Daniels (UTAH STATE), Chris Davis (North Texas), Patrick Doctor (American), Scott Emerson (Mercer), George Evans (George Mason), Brian Heinle (Cal State Northridge), Gerrod Henderson (Louisiana Tech), Trevor Huffman (Kent State), Michael Jackson (Missouri-Kansas City), Joe Linderman (Drexel), Jody Lumpkin (College of Charleston), Rashad Phillips (Detroit), Ryan Sears (Creighton), Tamar Slay (Marshall), Craig Snow (Evansville), Isaac Spencer (Murray State), Greg Stempin (Toledo), Desmond Stewart (Niagara), Lonnie Thomas (Louisiana-Lafayette), and John Tice (Central Connecticut State).

Note: The Mid-Major University's are made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Continent, Mid-Eastern, Midwestern Collegiate, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Sun Belt, Trans American, and West Coast Conference.



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