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Aggies hit road for three-game swing

sports editor

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 13:01





There’s no rest for the weary: or in this case, the Utah State men’s basketball team.

After back-to-back home losses, the Aggies hit the road for the first two games of a three-game stint away from the Spectrum starting Thursday at the University of Idaho, followed by a trip to Seattle Saturday.

“Obviously these teams both played us very well at home,” said head coach Stew Morrill. “We had to make a spectacular shot to beat Idaho and Seattle was in the game the whole way, so we know that we have a big challenge going to their courts, Idaho is probably as efficient an offensive team as we have in the WAC. They are shooting high-percentages. They have a lot of offensive weapons.”

Leading the attack for the 8-11 Vandals is Kyle Barone.

The senior from California is coming off back-to-back double-double performances in which he scored 27 and 25 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in each contest. He averages 16.7 points per game – 18.0 in conference games – on the season, which is second-best in the WAC.

In Saturday’s win over UTSA, Barone had a nearly perfect night statistically after going 10-for-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

“Unbelievable weekend last weekend, just unbelievable,” Morrill said. “He is a guy that has been a starter since he was a freshman. Every year he has gotten better. He is really hard to deal with down low, he is athletic and strong, he has a very good touch and he is averaging 12 boards in league. He is a first-team all-league guy without question. We have got to help some on him and we have got to do a good job when we don’t help.”

As a team, Idaho is in the top of the conference in both field goal and free throw percentage with 77.5 and 49.5, respectively, and is second in 3-point percentage with 37.0, right behind Denver.

Thursday’s tipoff between the Aggies and Vandals is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the Cowan Spectrum at the Kibbie Dome, after which Utah State will head for Seattle.

The Redhawks are currently 6-13 overall and just 1-8 in conference play but are ranked seventh in the nation in rebounds per game with 42.0. They’re also 37th nationally in assists with 15.5 per game.

Clarence Trent and Deshaun Sunderhaus both average double figures for Seattle with 11.8 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.

For the Aggies, Morrill said USU’s toughest challenge will be maintaining stamina for the full 40 minutes for the duration of the trip.

“Trying to keep our guys fresh with our limited numbers and trying to prepare for the games is a bit of a challenge because we don’t want to be in the practice court for very long and yet we don’t want to go into the games not prepared for what we are going to see,” Morrill said. “We are trying to shorten practice because we have no subs and it has kind of been that way for awhile, but it is worse obviously now. We’re trying to shorten practice and stay as fresh as we can, stay injury free and all those kinds of things.”



Twitter: @CurtisLundstrom

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