Utah State anxious for shot at undefeated Cougars

Utah State anxious for shot at undefeated Cougars

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LOGAN -- The Utah State Aggies (3-2) host the BYU Cougars (5-0), their oldest rival, Wednesday in the Spectrum.

This is the Aggies' third game of their five-game home stand, and the Aggies are looking for redemption after a tough loss to the Cougars last year, 68-63.

The Aggies routed the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds Saturday night, 89-49. Freshman guard Preston Medlin had a breakout performance scoring 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the 3-point line.

I'm sure everyone will be ready for the BYU game, especially our Utah guys that really know what the rivalry means. They've been telling me about it ever since I've been here so I don't like BYU at all either.

–USU forward Pooh Williams

Aggie junior forward Pooh Williams had a surprising performance and scored 17 points of his own hitting 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

"We wanted to use this game to get us ready," said Williams about the SUU blowout.

The Aggie defense held the T-Birds to a 26.4 percent shooting performance from the field and 27.8 percent from the 3-point line on the night. Thunderbird senior guard Davis Baker only managed 10 points against the Aggies and was the only T-Bird to score in double digits.

After a series of events, and BYU Head Coach Dave Rose refusing to play at the Spectrum, last years' match up was held at Energy Solutions Arena to provide a neutral court for both teams. The Aggies kept things close in the first few minutes of the first half, but the Cougars used 7-of-15 three-point shooting to push their lead to 10 with 3:46 remaining in the first half.

BYU shot 50 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from beyond the arc in the first half. The Aggies shot 44 percent from the field, but only manage 28.6 percent from the 3-point line.

The Aggies used a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to three and only found themselves down 38-35 at half. The two team traded baskets to begin the first half, before Cougar junior forward Jonthan Tavernari hit a 3-point shot to put BYU up for good. Tavernari finished the night with 24 points and four steals.


Utah State had a chance to tie the game, but Aggie junior forward Matt Formisano turned the ball over with one second left in the game.

An in-state rivalry game always brings a great deal of hype, but most of the team, especially players from Utah, has been looking forward to this game for a long time.

"I'm sure everyone will be ready for the BYU game, especially our Utah guys that really know what the rivalry means," said Williams. "They've been telling me about it ever since I've been here so I don't like BYU at all either."

Utah State also has the opportunity to hand the Cougars their first loss of the season.

Even though there is a great deal of hype surrounding this game, Aggie Head Coach Stew Morrill is trying not to let his team get over-hyped for this match-up.

"We're are trying to protect home court and trying to win a game. We're not looking down the road at this point," said Morrill.

Senior guard Jared Quayle will have his hands full with Mountain West Conference Pre-Season Player of the Year, Cougar senior guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging over 20 points per game and six assists.

Morrill couldn't say enough about Fredette in an interview Monday.

"Fredette is a confident player that has the skills to back up his confidence. Every year he gets better. He's a really good player," said Morrill.

The Cougars are a very deep team this season. They have two freshman in guard Tyler Haws and forward Brandon Davies who have provided instant offense of the bench.

"BYU is as deep as I've ever seen them," said Morrill." Both of their freshman Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies are premier players in Utah."

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in the Spectrum.

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