It’s always good for your basketball team and morale when everyone gets to play. That’s a positive thing to be garnered from this game. —Stew Morrill, USU head coach
LOGAN — If the first two games are any indication of how things will go for Utah State's basketball team this season, scoring points should not be a problem.
Against Southern Utah on Tuesday night, the Aggie offense was efficient and methodical in a 90-57 blowout win in front of 9,540 fans at the Spectrum. The victory moved USU to 2-0 on the season, while Southern Utah dropped to an even 1-1.
The Aggies raced out to a 19-point lead just 10 minutes into the game and then dug deep into their bench. USU used all 13 available players in both halves. All but two players scored, and all of them played at least five minutes.
“It’s always good for your basketball team and morale when everyone gets to play,” head coach Stew Morrill said. “That’s a positive thing to be garnered from this game.”
USU's Jarred Shaw led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds from the center position as the Thunderbirds chose to stick close to 3-point shooters, leaving the paint open for the big man to operate.
“I feel like I didn’t play like myself in the USC game. Coach gave me a challenge to bounce back and have a good game. I took that challenge and tried to do what I could do,” Shaw said.
Spencer Butterfield added 11 and TeNale Roland chipped in 10 to join Shaw in double figures. Going deep into the bench allowed freshmen JoJo McGlaston and Viko Noma’aea to check in for the first time in their Aggie careers. McGlaston finished with five points while Noma’aea did not record a shot attempt.
Fellow freshman Jalen Moore finished with eight points and scored the first basket of his Aggie career after only netting free throws in USU's season opener. Ben Clifford also saw his first action of the season after missing the last few months with a foot injury. Clifford was cleared by doctors to play on Sunday.
“It’s going to take him some time to get his rhythm back,” Morrill said. “Then there is going to be a battle for time. Those guys aren’t just going to hand over their minutes.”
Utah State never trailed, building up its lead to as many as 22 in the first half before settling into a 46-26 halftime advantage. The Aggies shot a blistering 60 percent in the first half while holding the Thunderbirds to just 26 percent shooting. Utah State finished at 58 percent shooting while Southern Utah managed just 30 percent.20 comments on this story
“I didn’t think we played great, but if you look at the stats it looked like we played real well. So we played really well,” Morrill joked after the game. “We had too many sporadic stretches of the game that were really ugly.”
Morrill acknowledged that he wasn’t unhappy with the team, but would like to see the Aggies work on ball screens and defensive rotations.
The Aggies next take to the road for their only out-of-state nonconference game on Saturday at UC Santa Barbara.
Southern Utah also heads out west. The T-Birds will face California on Monday.
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.