Utah State basketball: Seniors sparking Aggie run in CIT tournament

Published: Saturday, March 24 2012 7:50 p.m. MDT

Loyola Marymount players and coaches watch as a technical foul on Myke Scholl, center, is reported to the scorers table during a CollegeInsider.com basketball tournament game against Utah State in the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament, Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/The Herald Journal, Eli Lucero)

Eli Lucero, ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOGAN — It is down to the Final Four of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament as Utah State (20-15) hosts the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (20-15) in the Spectrum at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The rare Sunday home game was the side-effect of the Spectrum hosting the WAC gymnastics championships on Saturday. It will only be the sixth Sunday game Utah State has played under head coach Stew Morrill and the first Utah State home game on a Sunday in school history.

"We certainly respect everybody's beliefs and opinions about playing on Sunday," Morrill said. "In the 14 years I've been here, we've tried to avoid Sunday games and as much as possible, Sunday practices. It's just a unique set of circumstances that caused us to play this game on Sunday."

Just a month ago it looked like the Aggies were in for their first losing record since the 1992-1993 campaign, but something clicked for Utah State after falling behind by as many as 15 early in the Idaho game. Including the win against Idaho, Utah State has won six of its last seven, changing the outlook of what could have been a disastrous season.

"The best thing about it is these players will feel positive about the season and I really like the taste it will leave in our seniors mouths, that we've got to 20 wins, and we've won six of our last seven, and that we've been able to continue our season," said Morrill. "It's added a real positive element to the season."

The seniors have played some of their best ball of the season. Morgan Grim has finally recovered from an ankle injury that nagged him all season and is putting up 12.3 points a game during the CIT while looking much more fluid on the floor. Brockeith Pane has put three solid games together as well, averaging 13 points a contest in the tournament. Returning players such as Preston Medlin, who is averaging 24 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4 assists during the Aggies' last six wins and Kyisean Reed (13 ppg during the CIT) are building a solid foundation for next year.

The winner between Utah State and Oakland will host Mercer in the CIT championship game on Wednesday night.

Aggies on the air

Oakland (20-15) vs. Utah

State (20-15)

Sunday, 4 p.m. MT

Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Logan

TV: none Radio: Aggie Sports Network

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