Weekly Basketball Notes (12-24-00)
Dec. 24, 2000
Up Next: Utah State will host the seventh annual Gossner Foods Classic on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The 2000 field includes Albany, Air Force, Cornell, and Utah State. Air Force (2-7) and Cornell (2-6) will play the first game on Friday, Dec. 29, at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Aggies (8-2) and Albany (2-8) at 8:05 p.m. The consolation game will be on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., with the championship game taking place at 8:05 p.m.
Scouting The Great Danes: Albany is 2-8 on the year and has not played a games since losing at Army 70-66 on Dec. 14. The Great Danes are 0-6 on the road this year with its two wins coming at home over Green Mountain (101-55) and Harvard (82-78). Freshman forward E.J. Gallup leads the team with 17.7 points per game, while junior forward Will Brand and sophomore guard Sam Hopes both average over 13 points per contest. Albany returns three starters and seven letterwinners from last year's team that went 11-17 overall. The Great Danes play an Independent schedule. Head coach Scott Beeten is in his first season as head coach at Albany and has a 14-10 overall record as a head coach.
Series History: Utah State and Albany will be facing one another for the first time ever. In fact, Albany will be only the sixth team from the state of New York that the Aggies have ever played. USU is 9-3 versus teams from New York with a 3-1 record against New York University, 2-0 versus St. Bonaventure, 2-1 versus Long Island, 1-0 versus Niagra, and 1-1 versus Manhattan.
Gossner History: Utah State welcomes Albany, Air Force, and Cornell to the seventh annual Gossner Foods Classic. USU is a perfect 12-0 in the Gossner Foods Classic. A Utah State player has won each of the previous six MVP honors. They are as follows: Shawn Daniels (`99), Donnie Johnson (`98), Marcus Saxon (`97), Maurice Spillers (`96), and Eric Franson (`95 and `94).
Aggies Versus The Field: Air Force is the only team in the 2000 Gossner Foods Classic that Utah State has faced before. The Aggies are 9-2 all-time against the Falcons, including a 5-0 mark at home. The last time USU and Air Force played was Dec. 21, 1991 in San Francisco, Calif, with the Aggies notching a 64-63 win. The last time the two teams met in Logan was on Jan. 28, 1978 with USU winning that game 80-70. In fact, USU has won the last seven meetings between the two schools.
Scouting The Rest Of The Field: Cornell is 2-6 on the year after losing its last three games. Last time out, the Big Red lost at Lehigh 73-55. On the year, Cornell is 1-1 on the road and 0-2 at neutral sites. The Big Red returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's team that went 10-17 overall and 3-11 in the Ivy League. Head coach Steve Donahue is in his first year as a head coach. Air Force is 3-7 on the year, defeating Denver 51-49. The Falcons other two wins on the year have been against Houston (59-53) and Central Connecticut State (63-56 ot). Air Force returns three starters and nine letterwinners from last year's squad that went 8-20 overall and 4-10 in the Mountain West Conference. Head coach Joe Scott is in his first year as a head coach after spending eight seasons as an assistant at Princeton.
Versus The Mountain West: Utah State is currently 1-1 on the year versus teams from the Mountain West Conferecne, defeating No. 22 Utah 58-57 before losing at BYU 67-69.
One And Done: Utah State continued its string of not losing more than one game in a row in tack with a 76-62 win at UC Riverside this past week, after losing at BYU last Saturday 69-67. The last time USU lost two games in a row was at the end of the 1998-99 season, a span of 43 games. The Aggies lost its last three games to end the year that season.
On The Road Again: After snapping a 10-game road winning streak at BYU last weekend, Utah State waisted little time in starting a new road streak with a 76-62 win at UC Riverside. USU has won 11 of its last 12 road games over the past two seasons. That 10-game road winning streak by the Aggies is a school record, breaking the old mark of six set during the 1961-62 season.
Losing Against BYU A Good Thing?: Despite losing to its in-state rival for the third straight year, maybe losing to the Cougars is a good thing for Utah State. After losing to BYU last year at home, USU went on to win 19 straight games before losing to Conneticut in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies also won 18 straight regular season games after losing to BYU last year.
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 39 games in a row when leading at the half before letting a 10-point halftime advantage slip away against Austin Peay State in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic on Nov. 19, 2000. USU has however compiled a 48-2 mark when leading at halftime over its last 50 games, and is 6-1 this season when leading at the half.
Now That's Balance: Although you will probably never see a Utah State player among the league leaders in scoring, one thing you will see is a lot of different players that score 10 to 13 points a game for Utah State. The Aggies were very balanced last year with four players scoring in double-figures, and the leading scorer averaging 12.0 points per game Well this season is no different for USU other than that all five Aggie starters average double-figures in scoring thus far this year. And once again like last season, the leading scorer is at 12.4 points per game, with another player at 12 points a game, and three players at 10.5 points per game.
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.
The Giant Is Alive: Senior center Dimitri Jorssen has done something over the past four games for Utah State that he has never done before at USU. For the first time in his career, a span of 67 games, Jorssen has scored in double-digits in four straight games for the Aggies. The Belguim native began his streak with 14 points against Montana Tech and followed that up with 15 points at BYU this past weekend. At UC Riverside on Wednesday night, Jorssen added to his string of double-digit games with 12 points, before scoring 15 against Weber State this past Saturday. Jorssen has scored in double-figures six times this season, which ties for the team lead with Bernard Rock and Tony Brown. Prior to this year, Jorssen scored in double-figures a total of 11 times, giving him 17 in his career.
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 149 4. Tony Brown 370 5. Troy Rolle 112 5. Troy Rolle 304
12-Game Home Court Winning Streak: Utah State has won its last 12 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 25 of its last 26 games at home.
Morrill Wins Number 50 At USU: Utah State head coach Stew Morrill recorded his 50th win at Utah State this Wednesday at UC Riverside with a 76-62 Aggie win. He became the seventh coach in the history of Utah State basketball to record at least 50 wins.
Stellar Play: Utah State's starting guard tandem of Bernard Rock and Tony Brown had an outstanding game against Weber State this past weekend as the two combined for 30 points, 13 assists and only one turnover. The two also shot 11-of-21 from the field in the contest.
Putting The Clamps On: When the season started for Utah State its defense in the second half was horrible as USU allowed three of its first four opponents to shoot over 50 percent from the field in the second half. Those first four opponents were also averaging 37 points in the second half. Well, in the past five games for USU that percentage has gone way down. Since allowing Colorado-Colorado Springs to shoot over 50 percent from the floor in the second half, USU has held its last four opponents to a combined 29 percent from the floor (37-126) and only 24.8 points in the second period.
Inside The Numbers: Ten games into the season, Utah State has established itself as one of the best shooting teams in the history of Aggie basketball. The Aggies are currently shooting 51.4 percent from the floor on the season. Only seven other teams have shot over 50 percent from the floor since the 1957-58 season. USU is also shooting 40 percent from three-point range thus far. The only other Utah State team to shoot over 40 percent from behind the arc was the 1997-98 team that shot 42.9 percent from three-point range.
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 14 of its last 15 games when Brown scores in double-figures, and is 25-6 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 326-96 (.772) at home. Over the past three seasons, the Aggies have compiled an incredible 47-3 (.940) record at home. USU has won 57 of its last 60 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 32-3 (.914) 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.
Close Losses: Utah State has struggled a bit thus far in close games as the Aggies are 5-2 in games decided by nine points or less and 3-2 in games decided by four points or less. Last year, USU was 12-2 in games decided by nine points or less.