Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday night in the WAC

Utah State remains the team to beat although the Aggie-Aggie matchup in Logan took place without the newly eligible Herb Pope. So New Mexico State will get a rematch later this season with an infusion of major talent. Let's hope Pope adjusts quickly and experiences little or no rustiness.

Aggies get defensive
Shawn Harrison
Logan Herald-Journal
Sunday, January 13, 2008

After wondering out loud nine days ago if this Aggie team could win a game with defense, Utah State head men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill got an answer Saturday night.

In a battle for sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference at a packed Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, USU held off several New Mexico State rallies and finished strong for a 74-62 win in front of 9,986 fans. With the victory over the other Aggies in the league, the host Aggies are the only school with an unblemished conference record.

“We finally won a game with our defense, and that is what we’ve been harping about,” Morrill said. “We went out and played some defense and held somebody to under 40 percent (on field goals) and under 30 percent from 3-point range.”

NMSU (9-10, 3-1 WAC) shot just 35.3 percent from the field for the game and made just 8-of-30 (26.7 percent) shots from 3-point range.

“We have really been working on our defense and rebounding,” said USU forward Gary Wilkinson, who had a team-best 18 points and eight rebounds. “We wanted to make sure that we could win a game not only with our offense, but by buckling down, playing defense and by getting some boards.”

USU (12-5, 2-0) ended up shooting 45 percent from the field for the game after making 51.7 percent of its shots in the first half. The northern Aggies were 6-of-18 from beyond the arc...
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Boise State kept pace as expected facing Louisiana Tech.

Lapses aside, BSU men too much for La. Tech
Idaho Statesman

Winning is never bad, which is why you won't hear anyone associated with the Boise State men's basketball program say anything too negative about the Broncos' 81-66 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday night at Taco Bell Arena.
And while the 15-point Western Athletic Conference win had some high spots - the senior trio of Reggie Larry, Matt Nelson and Tyler Tiedeman scoring the team's first 34 points, for instance - there also was a troubling stretch that prevented BSU (12-4, 3-1 WAC) from being all smiles after the win.

"We should have put them away earlier than we did," Tiedeman said.

Tiedeman did his part, making his first four 3-point shots and knocking down three free throws after being fouled on his fifth attempt, to help BSU build a 21-point lead in the first half. Tiedeman had all 15 of his points in the first half when the Broncos led 45-31.

And then there was Larry and Nelson, who had their way with the Bulldogs' undersized posts. Larry showed no ill effects from the knee injury he sustained Thursday night as he matched his career-high total of 25 points. He also had season-highs in rebounds (15) and blocked shots (three).

"Everything was fine," said Larry, who made 10-of-14 shots and had six offensive rebounds.

"I thought he looked good," BSU coach Greg Graham said. "I think he wanted to prove to everyone that he wasn't hurt and he was OK. He more than did that."

Nelson made 8-of-11 shots and finished with 22 points and five rebounds. He also had five of BSU's 21 assists...
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Nevada, fresh off a spanking at San Jose State, had its way after a slow start with host Hawaii.

Nevada hammers cold-shooting UH
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
January 13, 2008

Playing as if it were a house of straw against the big, bad Wolf Pack, the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team got blown away last night.

The Rainbow Warriors had one of their worst shooting games of the season in a 77-59 loss to Nevada.

A crowd of 4,257 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the 'Bows fall to 5-10 overall and 1-2 in the WAC.

"It was a nightmarish night," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "I guess it was just like a road game for us tonight. We just didn't get the bounces that we needed."

The Wolf Pack improved to 8-6 and 1-1. Nevada has won the last four games against the 'Bows.

Matt Gibson had team-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds, but it was not enough to overcome dismal shooting performances from the other four starters.

"It just came down to our shooters missing a couple of jump shots, and that's something that doesn't happen too often," Gibson said.

Bobby Nash scored a season-low eight points on 4-of-18 shooting, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range. Riley Luettgerodt scored a season-low four points on 2-of-7 shooting. Jared Dillinger scored a season-low two points on 1-of-7 shooting, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range.

It was that kind of night.

"Twenty-one 3-pointers and we make three," Bobby Nash said. "That's not a very good percentage ... it was just a bad game."

The 59 points also tied a season-low for Hawai'i, and the 'Bows finished with a .375 field-goal percentage, including .143 from 3-point range...
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As expected, Hawaii took the measure of visiting Idaho despite a tremendous performance by Vandal Jordan Brooks.

Bulldogs push past IdahoMiller, Bell spark Fresno State to home win
Gary Estwick
The Fresno Bee

Fresno State might need to rethink its ambitions for the rest of the season, if its 69-53 win Saturday night against Idaho is what should be expected.

Or maybe Idaho, which finished last during both of its seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, has finally improved.

A Save Mart Center crowd of 9,550 fans watched Fresno State struggle to control the conference's ultimate cellar dweller, an Idaho squad with four wins but an energetic point guard with a power forward's mentality.

Newcomer Jordan Brooks pestered Fresno State for most of the game, but the Bulldogs received 27 points from Eddie Miller to improve to 9-8 overall and 2-1 in WAC play.

Miller and Kevin Bell (17 points) combined for nearly two-thirds of Fresno State's offense. Miller's tied his career highs in scoring and 3-pointers.

The rest of the Bulldogs struggled to score against Idaho's multiple defenses, this season's Achilles' heel. It allowed Idaho to keep the game within reach until the final 3 minutes.

"There's two or three teams that have established themselves as having the most talent, depth and experience," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland said. "And we're not one of those teams."

Idaho (4-11, 1-3) is still several players away from finishing the season among the conference's top five teams. Fresno State is in that bunch, yet teetering on the edge, as evident by its closest home victory against Idaho since the Vandals joined the WAC...
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