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Butterfield, Shaw rise to occassion

sports editor

Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 14:01

butterf

SOPHOMORE GUARD SPENCER BUTTERFIELD drives past a UT-Arlington defender at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Thursday. Butterfield recorded his first career double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds – both career highs – in the Aggies’ 74-68 loss. DELAYNE LOCKE photo

 

Despite four consecutive losses, the Utah State men’s basketball team is optimistic about its chances down the stretch in conference play.

“It’s a tough loss, but I’m proud to be a part of this team,” said junior Spencer Butterfield. “I’m proud of our guys for the way we battled tonight. Don’t give up on this team yet. We’ve still got a lot of fight in us. We’re going to keep coming to work every single day and we’re going to be doing some good things coming up. I can feel it.”

With injuries to leading scorer Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed, a large load of responsibility has fallen to Butterfield. In a loss to Texas-Arlington last Thursday, Butterfield rose to the occasion with 23 points and 11 rebounds — his first career double-double.

Butterfield also carried the Aggies down the stretch in Saturday’s loss to Louisiana Tech, but got a lot of help from junior Jarred Shaw.

“I think we fought hard and we got a little bit better today even though we lost,” Shaw said. “We just got better as a group. We just have to learn from this, stay positive and move on to the next one.”

Shaw is a major part of why the Aggies aren’t dead.

The Texas native played his best game of the season against the Bulldogs with a career-high 21 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.

“I thought Jarred was totally playing as hard as he could play, which we needed him to do,” head coach Stew Morrill said. “It was kind of a grind-out game, probably the kind of game that we had a chance in. In our present situation, we needed to have that kind of game.”

Even before Medlin and Reed went down to injury, Shaw had been a driving force for the Aggies. His seven double-doubles are the 41st most in the NCAA, and Shaw ranks near the top of the WAC in a handful of statistical categories.

For the season Shaw is averaging 8.4 rebounds per game, putting him in the top-75 in the country and second in the WAC in conference only games at 8.0 rebounds per game.

Shaw also ranks in the top-10 in conference statistics win scoring at 12.7 points per game, field goal percentage at 50.5 percent and blocked shots with 1.21 per game. Despite the numbers, Shaw said after the game Saturday he still feels room for improvement.

“I’ve been in a bit of a slump and down on myself,” Shaw said. “I just thank God I had a great game tonight.”

 

– curtislundstrom@gmail.com

Twitter: @CurtisLundstrom

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