Utah State basketball: Aggies have a chance to do what Wildcats couldn't — beat LMU

By Kraig Williams

Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, March 20 2012 11:21 p.m. MDT

LOGAN — It is down to the final eight of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Utah State will host West Coast Conference member Loyola Marymount Wednesday night in the Spectrum for the right to move onto the final four of the tournament.

The Lions (21-12) have collected their first 20-win season since the 1989-1990 Elite Eight team that famously ran teams out of the gym under coach Paul Westhead. The lasting memory from that team is one of the all-time great NCAA tournament moments. Bo Kimble shot his first free throw of each game left-handed to honor his friend and teammate Hank Gathers who collapsed and died on the court just weeks earlier.

Loyola Marymount doesn't play the run-and-gun style of basketball they did under Westhead anymore, but are still a dangerous team. Big wins on the road this season include BYU, UCLA and Saint Mary's. The Lions advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIT by beating Cal State Fullerton and Weber State at home.

"It's a good challenge," Utah State head coach Stew Morrill said. "Just look at what they accomplished this year. They went 11-5 in the WCC and 7-1 on the road in conference. That's a league that sent three teams to the NCAA tournament and they finished just a game behind BYU. They are a quality team with a lot of good wins."

One key for the Aggies will be slowing down ultra-quick point guard Anthony Ireland. The sophomore leads the Lions in scoring at just under 16 a game and can create havoc in a defense with his ability to get past his defender and find the open man. Against Weber State on Sunday, Ireland more than held his own against Damian Lillard, going 20 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds.

Tickets are available for fans at $17 each by visiting the USU Ticket Office located inside the Dee Glen Smith Specturm, over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com.

Students are being granted free admittance with a valid student ID. Parking will be available for free at Romney Stadium.

Aggies on the air

Loyola Marymount (21-12)

at Utah State (19-15)

Wednesday March 21st, 7 p.m. (MT)

Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Logan

TV: none Radio: Aggie Sports Network

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