Dec. 13, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
USU men's basketball head coach Stew Morrill's quotes previewing Saturday's game versus Utah Valley:
Opening statement previewing Utah Valley:
"Another in-state game. Through the years we've played a lot of the in-state teams, tried to play all of them, and the in-state games, I've always thought, should take on special meaning to everybody involved and sometimes you hear people talk about it isn't as big a game to us as it is to them, and I think that's hogwash. Especially when we've been in a little bit of a funk, but I think an in-state game is an in-state game and that should be just as big to either team. Utah Valley's coming off a really nice win against Weber State. It went down to the wire, and I'm impressed, as I always am with Dick's teams, with how hard they play, how well they execute, they screen the heck out of you, they pack it in on defense, they just are impressive whenever you watch them. Every year when we prepare to play his teams, I'm always impressed with the things they do. It's been finals week for us, but we've had a good, spirited week of practice, and hopefully we can take it to the court."
On the importance of in-state games:
"These in-state games will be interesting as we go, with only having 12 non-conference games with the number of league games we've got. We'll always try to play as many as we can, but as I say, they always take on special meaning so hopefully we're ready to go."
On matching up against Utah Valley redshirt-freshman forward Zach Nelson:
"He's just a real active four-man. Very clever around the basket, he has a lot of moves, a lot of fakes and he's active off the dribble. They'll isolate him and let him try and take you. He's an impressive freshman; an older freshman, coming off a mission, but he's leading them in scoring. I like what I see out of him. He's going to be a good player for a long time for them."
On what seniors Holton Hunsaker and Ben Aird bring to the Utah Valley team:
"Well, Holton Hunsaker kind of makes their team go. He is just all over the court, he had a big play at the end of the Weber game where he dove on the floor and got the loose ball. It was just a great play and pretty much signifies what he's all about. He screens the crap out of you. He's just very physical, very feisty, kind of sets the tone for how they want to play. I've always liked Holton as a player. Aird is a skilled big man that leads them in rebounding, he's averaging almost a double-double. He's got a nice touch facing the basket, very effective at the block. Big-bodied guy. They're veterans. They've been starting since they were freshmen. They're two players who've seen a lot of basketball for Utah Valley, two good players."
On the play of Mitch Bruneel, former Utah State player:
"Mitch is doing a good job. He's active, very good rebounder; had five offensive rebounds the other night. Good shooter when he gets his feet set, plays hard, very, very solid, high-character guy. He's doing a good job for them."
On protecting home court and losing first home game of season:
"Like I said, we've been in a little bit of a funk the last couple games, we're just trying to bounce out of it. It's a long season, there's always going to be some highs and lows, and we're just trying to get back on track playing good basketball. Like I said, we had a good week of practice, so hopefully that will carry over."
On the progress of Kyle Davis's injury:
"They did an MRI, and he's just gradually been able to do a little bit more each day. He just skeletoned a couple of days ago, and no live action. Yesterday he was able to mix in and do a little more live action. I expect a little more out of him today. He's got a sore knee, a bone bruise, a little bit of a strain, but nothing structurally wrong which, knock on wood, was great news. He's just progressing day-by-day."
"I've never liked penalizing a guy for being hurt. It's never been something I've believed in. So we'll see where Kyle's at. If we feel like he's ready to go full boar, then we'll go that way, and if not, we'll go with Jalen Moore."
On what stood out to him with how well Utah Valley rebounded in game against Weber State:
"Plus eight; plus eight on the boards. They're physical, as I said earlier, they play hard. Mitch (Bruneel) got five offensive rebounds. They did a really good job in that game. They're about even on the boards, but they're going to be jacked up, fired up, coming off that win, and we've got to match how hard they play, and the rebounding is always an indication of how hard your team's playing."
On the recent community service by the team:
"Some of our players and one of my coaches. I heard it went great. I heard our guys did a good job. We're always looking to help with community service any way we can. They're constantly asking us to do things, and we do as much as we possibly can."
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