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Aggies prep for two-game homestand

sports editor

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 14:01



The unknowns facing the Utah State basketball team are plentiful as the Aggies prep for a two-game homestand against Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech on Thursday and Saturday.

The biggest question is who plays what spots with the shake-up that came as a result of injuries to Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed.

“Obviously, yesterday our concern was with our own team and trying to make adjustments and figuring out who is going to play where and where we are at in all different areas of the game,” said head coach Stew Morrill. “When you have a point guard playing the back-up two, in terms of TeNale (Roland), when you have a true five man in Jordan Stone playing some four, it goes on and on.”

For the Aggies, executing on the defensive end is just as big a focus as making up the offensive output of Medlin and Reed. Morrill said he expects the remaining players to step up.

“As I have said, I expect them to play their tails off,” he said. “I expect them to do their best and we lost 31 points or so offensively in Kyisean and Preston in terms of league games and that is obviously a challenge to try and make up those points. So we have got to try and be better defensively than we have been.”

So while Utah State will look to regroup and get back in the win column, the Aggies will have to do it against the 27th-best rebounding team in the country without 2nd-leading rebounder Kyisean Reed.

The Mavericks average 39 rebounds per game to USU’s 36 and allow 61 points per game, the second-best in the WAC.

“They play very good defense,” Morrill said. “It is pressure man-to-man on the half court. They press you and cause you problems. They will double the ball on an inbound pass. They will run and jump. If we are not solid with the ball, they can cause a lot of turnovers. Their man-to-man defense is their base and they are very good in it.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the Mavericks play as a team with seven players averaging between six and nine points per game.

Kevin Butler and Jordan Reves lead the way, each with nine points per game respectively, Karol Gruszecki adds eight per game, and Jamel Outler and Brandon Edwards each add seven.

Butler had 15 points and pulled down six rebounds in the Mavericks most recent game, a 77-64 loss to Idaho, but Morrill said there’s not one player they are specifically preparing for.

“No, I mean I think it is hard to be concerned about one guy,” Morrill said. “They have too much balance and you might say well guys are scoring 10-9-8, 8-7-7 a bunch of guys getting that, I’ve  always thought those kind of teams are harder to prepare for because you’ve got to be concerned about them all. A lot of guys are capable of having a big time night.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the dee Glen Smith Spectrum.



Twitter: @CurtisLundstrom

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