Utah State basketball: Aggies display balance in exhibition blowout
LOGAN — Utah State basketball got its first live action of the season in a 93-51 exhibition win against Universite Laval from Quebec City, Canada, on Saturday night.
The Aggies had six scorers in double figures led by newcomer Brockeith Pane's 16.
"He's a great player," junior forward Brady Jardine said about Pane. "He's an athletic guard, he's a strong guard. He's the kind of player I think that we need to win big games."
Even though the Aggies nearly hit triple digits on the scoreboard, the defense was the story. After allowing 30 points in the first half the Aggies clamped down on the visitors, allowing just 11 points for the first 17 minutes of the second half. Laval finished with 21 points in the second half on 25 percent shooting.
"In the first half they made some tough shots, and that's credit to them," Jardine said. "What we were frustrated about were the wide-open shots and the miscommunications we had that left them wide open. By cutting down those mistakes, we cut them down to 25 percent shooting."
Coach Stew Morrill agreed that the defense picked it up a notch in the second half.
"It was better, still a ways to go, but it was better."
Not all the news was positive for the Aggies as Nate Bendall did not suit up due to ongoing foot problems.
"He's got chronic foot issues. I don't know how else to say it," Morrill said about Bendall not suiting up for the exhibition game. "We were probably fortunate to get him through last year. Whether or not he will be able to play at all is hard to say. He's going to be out at least four weeks or more and we will go from there."
Jardine made the most of starting in Bendall's place by scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
"I owe all that to Ben Clifford. He never gets credit because he's redshirting this year, but I come home from practice every day and complain to my wife how Ben Clifford kicks my butt in practice every day" Jardine said about his rebounding stats. "When I have a guy like him in practice that I have to box out and rebound against, it makes the game easier."
As nice as a blowout win is, the Aggies know there is still plenty of work to get done to get ready for the season.
"The nice thing about a veteran team is that we realize that a 50-point (game) doesn't mean anything because we have a long ways to go," Jardine said. "We have a little saying 'its everyday and every way we get a little better' and that's how it will be the whole season. We'll get better each game."
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