LOGAN — As the Utah State Aggies keep rolling, so do the records and accolades.
With a win at Hawaii against the Warriors, the Aggies can tie the school record for consecutive conference wins with 23, set in 20001, back when the school was still in the Big West.
To do so, however, they will have to beat a Hawaii team that is on a streak of its own. After starting out 0-5 in WAC play, the Warriors have won their last three contests. Much of that credit goes to the return of Hawaii big man Bill Amis, who missed time with a foot injury earlier in the season and is now just hitting his stride. Amis had 20 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the Warriors' last outing, a 67-61 win at San Jose State.
"He's at full tilt right now," USU coach Stew Morrill said of Amis.
The Aggies will have to battle their own fatigue out on the islands as well. While Hawaii has not played since last Saturday, the Aggies played at San Jose State on Thursday night before making the roughly five-hour flight to Honolulu. The team looked so tired after last weekend that Morrill gave the team a rare day off of practice on Monday to try and get the Aggies refreshed.
"Everything is at stake with all the good things that can happen, we should be excited about playing in both of those games," Morrill said. "You throw in travel, you throw in all the things, and that is why I felt we needed a day off mentally and physically, and hopefully that will help us."
The Aggies owe their victory at San Jose to the exceptional shooting of Brian Green, who came off the bench to score a career-high 25 points on Thursday night. The game marked just the fifth time this season that the Aggies did not out-rebound their opponents, but with 53 percent shooting from beyond the arc and 17 made free throws, it did not matter, as the Aggies cruised to an 84-65 victory.
Thursday's win was a textbook Utah State basketball game, as the Aggies slowly built upon a 10-point halftime lead to pull away at the end. Another game in a long line of consistent, if not dominant, Aggie victories, which Morrill says he owes to the character of his players.
"We don't lead the league in jerks, we probably lead the league in good kids, and that is by design and is a credit to them," Morrill said. "My assistants go out a lot of the time and see good players and say they can't play for us, or they can't play for you coach, they won't last a week. I don't know whether that is good or bad, but it is the way it is."
"There's nothing worse than playing with guys you don't like," Morill continued. "I have had 25 teams, so I have had a few teams where they don't like each other, different stops along the way, and it is not near as much fun.
"We have had some teams with the idiot factor going, and that is not near as much fun for coaches, players, fans, or anybody, I don't think. Sometimes fans don't get into all that much as long as you are winning, but I think our fans have come to appreciate that we have got pretty darn good kids."
Aggies on the air
Utah State (19-2, 7-0 WAC) at Hawaii (12-8, 3-5)
Tonight, 10 p.m. MT
Stan Sheriff Center,
TV: none Radio: 610
AM, 1320 AM, 95.9 FM