Friday, January 18, 2008

The WAC last night

Okay, Utah State tops Boise State by four in Logan -- does this tell us anything? Probably not, and this is not an attempt to devalue the victory. The Aggies should have won and did. Good for them for turning back its upstart competition.

Right now, as indefensible as it may be, we see New Mexico State as the top team in the WAC, primarily because of the return of Hatila Passos and the newly established eligibility of Herb Pope. That's quite the mid conference play talent infusion.

We also see Utah State as #2. The Logan-based Aggies will be getting better and better as conference games continue, seeing as Gary Wilkinson, Tai Wesley and a couple of the other newcomers develop further and mesh even more with vets Jaycee Carroll, Kris Clark and Stephen DuCharme. An all-Aggie conference tourney final looks like what the outcome will be.

Boise holds the third spot and needed an on-the-road win over Utah State after having lost earlier at home to NMSU, a non-Passos and Pope Aggie team. Boise State must take the game in Las Cruces against New Mexico State and the home game against Utah State in order to change our mind. Here's the writeup on last night's Aggie-Bronco contest:

Aggies in a nailbiter
Shawn Harrison
Logan Herald Journal
January 18, 2008

Could it have been any more dramatic?

Not hardly.

A jam-packed Dee Glen Smith Spectrum of 10,116, who were mostly all on their feet for the final seconds, witnessed history at Utah State on Thursday night. Aggie head coach Stew Morrill became the winningest coach ever at the school with his 226th victory, passing E. Lowell Romney (1920-41).

There was no leaving early from this sold -out Western Athletic Conference contest as it went right down to the wire. But in the end, USU was able to turn back a feisty Boise State bunch, 82-78.

“I am very impressed with Boise State,” Morrill said. “We were fortunate to win that game.”

But what about the record?

“I tried to figure out why I avoided talking to you guys about that,” Morrill said. “For 33 years I have coached a team sport and you always talk about we, you don’t talk about me. You talk about your program, you talk about everybody together.

“It’s hard for me to reflect on something individually that has happened, because that is always the way it has been approached.”

The fans almost saw two long-standing school records fall Thursday night. Senior shooting guard Jaycee Carroll came within a field goal of breaking the career scoring record at USU. He finished with a game-best 29 points, to pull within a point of Greg Grant (2,127 points).

“They could have cut off my ceremony by about 90 percent and given him (Carroll) a lot more accolades, but I guess we will have to wait,” Morrill said. “He had an unbelievable game.”

Morrill had wished out loud several times over the past week that both records could fall on the same night, so the attention would be on Carroll. But no such luck for the veteran coach, who was honored right after the game and presented the game ball by university president Stan Albrecht and Aggie athletics director Randy Spetman.

“That was my plan,” quipped Carroll, who was 9-of-14 from the field for the game. “To get real close, then let him (Morrill) have his night. I’m just kidding. It was a good night and a lot of guys stepped up and played well.”

Like Gary Wilkinson, who matched his career-best with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds. Or Kris Clark, who had a game- and career-high 10 assists and made three free throws in the final 20 seconds.

“Guys wanted to come out and win not only for Stew, but because Boise State is one of the top teams in the conference,” Clark said.

And don’t forget Stephen DuCharme coming off the bench to score seven points and pull down six rebounds...
Go here for the remainder.


Here is another view, this time from the Idaho Statesman.


Nevada had more trouble than expected against Idaho but still won.

Pack basketball: Nevada grits out win against Idaho

There was nothing the Nevada basketball team could do to pretty up the game.

But the Wolf Pack still managed to take a gritty 69-61 win over the Idaho Vandals in front of 7,071 fans at Lawlor Events Center on Thursday night. The Pack went into the game an 18-point favorite, but was never able to open a double-figure lead.

"That was an ugly basketball game, but it is a win," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "It was a game in which we had 18 turnovers. We let people drive it to the basket so it was just mistakes on both ends that really contributed to the ugly game.

"Give Idaho credit. Their zone got us out of rhythm, but we still shot a solid percentage."

Armon Johnson led the Pack with a career-high 23 points and Marcelus Kemp helped get Nevada off to a good start with 16 of his 18 points in the first half. Brandon Fields and JaVale McGee scored 13 points each.

Demarshay Johnson got his first start since the sixth game of the season and finished with 11 rebounds to help lead Nevada to a 41-28 advantage on the boards. Johnson also had two points on a night the Pack didn't get any scoring from its bench. Fox was more concerned about his team's defense than the fact that no reserves scored.

"We have to commit to be a better defensive team," Fox said. "Every night, we have to defend to have a chance to win. Our defense isn't good enough right now."

Jordan Brooks had 20 points and Michael Crowell scored 16 for the Vandals...
Go here for the remainder.


Even without its best player -- Justin Graham -- San Jose State felled Fresno State in San Jose. To be fair, Bryan Harvey was missing from the Bulldog roster, due to academics but Graham is a more important player to the Spartans than Harvey is to Fresno State.

Sub super against 'Dogs
Fill-in Hill plays a key role as Spartans hold off late Fresno State charge
Gary Estwick
The Fresno Bee

SAN JOSE -- Tyson Parker filled in for Bryan Harvey, who missed his first game of many to come after being ruled academically ineligible this spring at Fresno State.

Jamon Hill, a former starter, took over for injured point guard Justin Graham, San Jose State's leading scorer.

On this Thursday night, experience won. Hill's perimeter scoring, along with a late offensive surge by DaShawn Wright, ended Fresno State's latest bout of adversity with a 69-65 loss at The Event Center.

Hill and Wright scored 14 points with seven rebounds apiece, spoiling Kevin Bell's 19-point effort for Fresno State. Most of their shots came from the perimeter -- open shots.

"I felt I had to take it," Hill said.

Wright did the same, handing Fresno State its first set of back-to-back road losses against its upstate rival since 1991. The Bulldogs, also playing without reserve center Shawn Taylor -- he injured his ankle Wednesday in Fresno and did not travel to San Jose -- fell back to .500 this season and in the Western Athletic Conference (9-9, 2-2).

San Jose State, which has already won more games this season than it did in all of 2006-07, improved to 9-8 overall and 2-3 in the WAC...
Go here for the remainder.

Here is another view from the San Jose Mercury News.

No comments: