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From bad to worse: Injuries hit USU

Medlin, Reed will sit for extended time

sports editor

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:01

prest

JUNIOR GUARD PRESTON MEDLIN drives past a defender during conference play at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Medlin sustained a wrist injury Thursday against NMSU. DELAYNE LOCKE photo

 

Coming off a lopsided loss in the first of a two-game road trip, things turned from bad to worse for the Utah State men’s basketball team.

Down two starters against the top-ranked defense in the conference, the Aggies suffered their second straight double-digit loss Saturday, 68-57, against Denver, only to learn Monday that leading scorer Preston Medlin will be out 6-8 weeks nursing a wrist injury and Kyisean Reed suffered a season-ending knee injury.

“First and foremost is our concern for Kyisean and Preston,” said head coach Stew Morrill. “This is as tough as it gets and we hurt for them first and our team second. We expect our players to step up and compete, as we have a lot of season left.”

Both Medlin and Reed left during the second half of Thursday’s game against New Mexico State, and while Medlin practiced Friday, neither played in the loss against Denver and could only look on as the Pioneers got hot from beyond the arc.

Both teams shot well from the 3-point line in the first half, shooting more than 60 percent.

The Pioneers went 7-of-11 while the Aggies were 5-of-7, but unfortunately for USU, it was the only offense the Aggies could muster en route to a 36-25 halftime deficit.

“We only had 34 shots on goal and that’s because we have 10 assists and 15 turnovers and they have 17 assists with three turnovers,” Morrill said. “Our offense was solid, other than the doggone turnovers.”

Denver tallied 11 assists on 14 field goals in the first half and committed zero turnovers in the game’s first 20 minutes.

The shooting struggles worsened in the second half as the Aggies failed to record a field goal until the 12:40 mark of the half and Denver pulled away. After seven turnovers in the first half, the Aggies committed eight in the second half.

“We knew we were without Preston and Kyisean and that we had a challenging night ahead,” Morrill said. “I’m not disappointed in our effort. I was disappointed in some of the results but not our effort.”

Utah State shot 47 percent from the field on the night but was unable to slow the Denver offense, allowing a scorching 56-percent field goal percentage. Marvin Jean scored a team-high 14 points in his second start of the season while Jarred Shaw added 10 points and 9 rebounds.

“Kyisean and Preston going down was tough,” Jean said. “It was tough without them. I got the chance to get in there and get it going, but unfortunately we didn’t get it done.”

The Aggies fell to 14-3 overall and 5-2 in WAC play and are now in third place behind the Pioneers at 6-1 and Louisiana Tech at 6-0.

Utah State returns to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Thursday, Jan. 24 to host UT-Arlington, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

 

-curtislundstrom@gmail.com

Twitter: @CurtisLundstrom

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