Hoops Slide Continues with Loss to Utah State

With the precision of a Swiss clock and boasting uber competitiveness and basketball fundamentals, the Utah State basketball squad is very hard to deviate from its game plan as drawn up by Coach Stew Morrill. Sometimes, it takes a while for all to click especially when new parts have been installed but the timing usually flourishes as the season rolls on.

That certainly was the case tonight when the Aggies came to San Jose State and ultimately departed with an 81-65 victory.

Employing more screens than the total that cover the windows of Pentagon, USU batters and bruises individual defenders into pulp. Plus, offensive forays to the hoop are met with mixed martial arts resistance.

On the night, despite the taking turns guarding by deluxe defenders Pooh Williams and Tyler Newbold, plus also at times some zone, Adrian Oliver managed 28 points.

Looking like an average Joe but taller, Nate Bendall proved to be a thorn in the side of the Spartans all night with 18 points (8-13 shooting) in 28 minutes of play. In fact, every Aggie shot well, going 14-26 and then 15-21 as a team in the two halves respectively, finishing at a remarkable 61.7% on the night.

The Spartans led 9-7 at the initial timeout. But Utah State forged ahead 20-15, then 27-16 and 31-22 with 3:54 remaining in the initial 20 minutes.

At the half, Utah State was on top 36-29. Faced with SJSU's four guard and a center quintet, the Aggies didn't take a shot outside the paint until Quayle put one up from just around 16 feet around the 15 minute mark.

A teardrop from Oliver cut the point differential to 39-33 early in the second half but USU went ahead 45-35 at the 15:56 mark.

With 12;28 showing, a Wesley layup made it 53-37. The Spartans fought back to close the gap to 72-61 with 3:20 remaining but smart ball by the Aggies carried the remainder of the half.

One aspect that elevates the efficiency of the Aggie offense is the passing ability of Tai Wesley at the four spot. With most centers and powers forwards, the ball enters a black hole upon reception, never to be passed from. Wesley totaled five assists tonight. Plus, Tyler Newbold -- the Aggie off-guard -- was credited with a team-leading six assists and nary a turnover.

For San Jose State, the loss marked only the second home loss of the season, and ended a seven game home win streak. The Spartans record dropped to 12-12, 5-7 WAC. The Utah State Aggies improved their record to 20-6, 10-2 WAC, and extended their current win streak to 10 games.

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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at kevin@insidesparta.com

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