Aggies prep for final homestand of season
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 13:03
It’s been an interesting season for the Utah State men’s basketball team.
With 28 games down, only two remain, both at home in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
First up is the 9-20 Bobcats of Texas State University on Thursday, followed by UTSA on Saturday.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve played these two teams,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “There’s been a lot of water under the bridge and a lot of things have happened. I’m watching our first two games with Texas State and UTSA, but it was so long ago and we’re playing with different people. Those games from the first weekend of conference are kind of irrelevant. You garner more by watching their recent games for sure.”
But for the Aggies, they’re more worried about themselves and whether or not they’ll have junior guard Spencer Butterfield in the lineup or remain at seven players.
“Our situation is such where we don’t even know for sure who we’re going to be playing with tomorrow night,” Morrill said. “Spencer has not practiced. He will be very brief today. He won’t be in any live situations. We’ll just see where we’re at tomorrow as to whether he goes or not. I don’t know. It depends on how he feels and we’ll go from there. That’s where we’re at.”
For the Bobcats, junior forward Joel Wright leads the way with 17.3 points per game and 6.5 rebounds, both team highs. Texas State also gets 11.4 points per game from senior Matt Staff.
“He’s an odd combination of being a post guy, but just as much a face-up guy as a back-to-the-basket guy,” Morrill said. “He kind of can do both pretty dang effectively. He’s an explosive player. He’s not the whole show. The Staff kid is very impressive as a post guy in that he’s so active.”
But with limited players on the perimeter, Morrill said the Aggies are also concerned with the guard play of Deonte’ Jones and Wesley Davis.
“Their other kid, Jones, at the 2-guard position has actually been playing better than Davis,” Morrill said. “His shooting percentages are much higher. Both of them are guys that can knock down perimeter shots. They’re very capable of scoring a bunch on you.”
When the two teams met Dec. 31, 2012, USU came away with an 81-57 blowout win behind a barrage of 3-pointers. Preston Medlin, Jarred Shaw and Spencer Butterfield combined for 56 of USU’s points while the defense limited the Bobcats to 37.3 percent shooting from the field.
But that was two long months ago, and Morrill said the Aggies aren’t taking the Bobcats lightly.
“Texas State is dangerous,” Morrill said. “Our ability to defend them is really important. They’ve got a premiere player in Joel Wright. They’ve got some guys that can really shoot the ball. They’re very aggressive in how they play the game. They press you, they pressure you, things we’ve seen quite a bit of. Our ability to handle all of that will be a big factor.”
This will be just the second meeting between the two teams all-time, with USU emerging victorious earlier this season.
Tipoff is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m.