Sunday, February 1, 2009

Last night in the WAC

More later on this but does Fresno State perform more effectively without Dwight O'Neill? Remember that the Bulldogs took down a Kenneth Cooper-less Louisiana Tech 63-46 when O'Neill was serving a different suspension. Not to take anything away from another Aggie win...

Ags need OT in Fresno to stay unbeaten in WAC
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
February 1, 2009

FRESNO, Calif. — With a potential Top 25 ranking waiting to be had, Utah State turned to its only senior.

And that senior delivered in a huge way.

Gary Wilkinson scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds at Utah State survived a big scare from Fresno State to hold on for a thrilling 83-77 overtime win at the Save Mart Center.

The win is Utah State's 16th in a row and gives the 21-1 Aggies a still-unblemished 9-0 mark in the Western Athletic Conference.

It also means USU, which was No. 27 in the coaches poll, will probably climb into the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2003-04 season. Several teams at the bottom of the rankings lost this week, opening the door for the Aggies.

"We're a team," Wilkinson said, emphasizing the word 'team' as he talked about how the Aggies held off the Bulldogs, 9-13, 1-6. "If any one person thought it all relied on them, it would have folded..."

Go here for the remainder.

Here's Shawn Harrison with his game report:

USU refuses to lose
Shawn Harrison
Herald Journal
February 1, 2009

FRESNO, Calif. — How does this Aggie team keep winning?

By not flinching at whatever is thrown at them. Utah State avoided defeat again after another close call.

Even a three-quarter court shot to send the game into overtime didn’t phase the Aggies. USU calmly took the momentum away from Fresno State in the extra period Saturday night at the Save Mart Center and kept all its winning streaks alive, 83-77.

“We keep finding a way,” Aggie head coach Stew Morrill said.. “This team has been amazing in close games. We have showed some toughness...”
Go here for the remainder.

From the Fresno perspective, here's Daniel Lyght:

Bulldogs fail to finish miracle
Seay's 60-footer ties it, but Utah State pulls out win in overtime.
Daniel Lyght
Fresno Bee
February 1, 2009

After being held to 10 points in their prior meeting, Utah State's Gary Wilkinson proved himself against Fresno State on Saturday at the Save Mart Center, conquering the Bulldogs' paint for a career-high 33 points as the Aggies escaped with an 83-77 overtime win.

"We ran at him and doubled him, and did a variety of things and sometimes he shot over the double team and sometimes he stepped back and shot it. He played really well tonight," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland said. "He had a huge first half and ... got his confidence up."

Wilkinson threw down an authoritative dunk with 14 seconds left in regulation, giving the Aggies a three-point lead. Little hope seemed to remain for a Fresno State upset of Western Athletic Conference-leading Utah State.

After Bulldogs freshman Paul George drove for a layup instead of shooting a 3 on the next possession, it certainly seemed as if they were done. But forward Sylvester Seay, who led the Bulldogs (9-12, 1-6) with 20 points, flung a three-quarters-court prayer from about 60 feet that banged in at the horn to tie it at 72-72.

The crowd erupted in disbelief as the video scoreboard lit up with "unbelievable."

"That was pretty magical," Cleveland said...
Go here for the remainder.

Now this may be the most important article to come out of the Aggie-Bulldog game last night:

Morrill has turned Utah State into the state of Utah's team
Randy Hollis
Deseret News
February 1, 2009

They're that obscure little school up north, with a campus nestled near the mouth of Logan Canyon in Cache Valley — a place that, somehow, is better known for its cheese than its college basketball.

Oh, sure, the cheese is mighty good — but, year in and year out, over the last decade, Aggie basketball has been even better.

Utah State University doesn't receive the recognition in this state that's generally reserved for BYU and the University of Utah. The Aggies' football program has smelled like rotten Limburger for a couple of decades, and the school plays in a more low-profile league — the Western Athletic Conference — than their big-brother counterparts to the south (who, by the way, both dwelled in the WAC for many years).

And, let's face it, some clueless, snobbish folks consider Logan as simply the southern-most part of Idaho.

But, when it comes right down to it, the Aggies are not only Utah State's basketball team, but they should be known as the state of Utah's team as well...
Go here for the remainder.

New Mexico State took care of Hawaii.

Aggies push past Hawaii in men's basketball
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — It wasn't a matter of if, but when.

For 16 minutes, Hawaii's deliberate style contained high-scoring New Mexico State, but a late run in the first half helped the Aggies provide enough of a cushion to win their second straight.

Jahmar Young led the Aggies with 25 points in an 82-72 Western Athletic Conference victory over the Warriors on Saturday at the Pan American Center.

"I think we need a little bit of a cushion," Aggies head coach Marvin Menzies said. "We can get a little too tense on the decision making when the score is really tight. They are one of those teams that will hang around and if they make a few shots, they are right there to win it. Thankfully we had guys knock down shots."

The Aggies improved to 11-11 and 5-3 in the WAC while Hawaii falls to 11-11 and 4-5 in the WAC, thanks in part to a 12 second-half points from Aggies sophomore guard Gordo Castillo...
Go here for the remainder.

Nevada had to go into Moscow -- previously not a tough matchup but how that has quickly changed -- and came away victorious but it was a battle:

Pack basketball: Nevada defense pounds out win
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
February 1, 2009

MOSCOW, Idaho -- With 7 seconds left on the clock and a win firmly entrenched in Nevada's pocket, Armon Johnson put his arm around teammate Luke Babbitt and said "Bye, Bye" to the rowdy Idaho crowd.

Thanks to the Babbitt-Johnson duo -- plus some stingy defense late and plenty of help from their Wolf Pack teammates -- Nevada was able to send the foul-mouthed crowd of 2,806 fans out of Cowan Spectrum with a hotly contested loss.

Babbitt scored a career-high 24 points -- seven coming in the final 4 minutes, 18 seconds -- and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Wolf Pack to the 69-65 victory over the revitalized Idaho Vandals...
Go here for the remainder.

Chris Murray has more here and here about the game.

Ron Tyler at A Closer Look At LA TECH Hoops has a recap of the San Jose State victory over the Bulldogs.

Here's the News Star with a game report.

No comments: