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Utah State report card: Forwards, crowd get A's in win over Cowboys

By Braden Clark

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 6 2014 8:05 a.m. MST

LOGAN — Fans were treated to Senior Night on Wednesday when Utah State hosted the Wyoming Cowboys in the Aggies' Mountain West Conference finale.

Both teams were hoping to improve their standings in the conference before they head off to Las Vegas next week for the conference tournament, and the Aggies did that with a 65-54 win.

The Aggies and the Cowboys came out and played efficient basketball, and the game didn’t go to its first break until the 11:18 mark of the first half.

Utah State, the favorite coming into the game, kept things close throughout. Defense was a prevalent factor in the game where both teams shot around 40 percent.

Utah State sophomore Kyle Davis and senior Jarred Shaw were the major factors on the defensive end tallying up five of the six blocks down in the low post.

Wyoming’s sophomore Josh Adams led all scorers with 21 points and made a significant effort to bring the Cowboys (17-13, 8-9) back in the game late in the contest.

However, the Aggies (17-13, 7-11) spun off a few runs late in the game to seal the victory.

For Utah State, it was a collective effort with four players scoring 10 or more points in helping the Aggies to the win in the regular-season finale.

Final standings are yet to be determined, and as of right now, the Aggies are a half-game behind Colorado State, and the Rams' upcoming game against Wyoming could determine how far the Aggies actually go in conference play. If the Cowboys beat the Rams, the Aggies will be looking at UNLV in the first round in Vegas. However, if the Rams win, the Aggies will take on the New Mexico Lobos, who are not an easy draw for the Aggies.

Guards: B-

It’s been a while since Marcel Davis was on the court, and from the looks of things the time he spent on the bench did well for him. He came out with a sense of urgency, quickly diving to the hole and getting to the line on the very first possession he played. That is a new offensive wrinkle from Davis and hopefully it's something he can build on going forward to the conference tournament.

Freshman JoJo McGlaston played 13 minutes and hit a few nice jumpers and had a block as well. Fans should look forward to the time when he can actually pull off those half court alley-oops because he has the athletic ability to do so.

Tenale Rolland put in added 10 points, five of them coming from the free-throw line at the end of the game. If he is going to play 30 minutes a game, Utah State coach Stew Morrill should expect more than just 2 of 6 from the field.

It appears that Preston Medlin has a problem playing at home. It has been nearly a month since he’s broke double digits in The Spectrum with the last time coming Feb. 8 against Boise State. Aggie fans should be ecstatic that the MWC tournament isn’t in Logan because they need Medlin if they want to make any sort of a push for the NCAA Tournament.

Forwards: A-

This group should get an A+ for the fact that Sean Harris nearly outscored his season average by 400 percent. Harris, prior to Wednesday’s game, scored a total of two points all season. In fact, Harris hadn't made a field goal all season until Wednesday. His only two points came from the free-throw line.

He also produced a solid rebounding effort. Even though he played only 11 minutes he grabbed three rebounds, dished out two assists, and poked away one steal.

Did anyone notice that Jalen Moore only played four minutes? Minutes were thin for the freshman on Senior Night, but the Aggies really didn’t need him. Senior Spencer Butterfield was one of three Aggies who shot over 50 percent in knocking in two 3-pointers and bringing his point total to 12. He also made his presence felt on the glass as well by picking up nine rebounds.

Even on Senior Night, Kyle Davis stole the show. He added 11 points off the bench and grabbed 14 rebounds (six offensive), and he had three blocks to go along with that. If the Aggies can get production of their forwards like they did Wednesday then they may be able to shock a few teams in the tournament next week.

Centers: B

On a night where scoring wasn’t needed, Shaw still made an effort offensively in leading the Aggies with 14 points. Shaw also contributed on the glass by collecting 10 boards. Where he made his presence felt was on the defensive side of the game with blocks and by holding Wyoming’s forward/center Derek Cooke to seven points.

Jordan Stone played 15 minutes, but didn’t make much of an impact, if at all. Stone grabbed four rebounds, but what he really is there for is defense and to hold the center position while Shaw gets rest on the bench or sits because of foul trouble.

If the Aggies want to contend for a Mountain West title they need Shaw to play his best every game and not commit foolish fouls that make him sit through most of the game. Shaw is the straw that stirs the drink for the Aggies, and they'll need him next week.

Coaching: B+

Morrill is easily one the greatest coaches in the history of the state of Utah, right up there with Jerry Sloan. It was nice that Morrill allowed his seniors to play most of the game because it was Senior Night. Students were pleased to see Harris not only play, but start his final game at The Spectrum. It shows the true character and love that Morrill has for his players, and it wasn’t to the detriment of the team either. He understood that Harris couldn’t be in for too long because he would get winded, but he also saw that Harris was giving good effort and rewarded him with more minutes.

Crowd: A

With an attendance of 9,909 The Spectrum got progressively louder as the game went on. It’s hard for fans to be really excited for a game that had little meaning for their team, and it’s even harder to do that on a Wednesday night when students are swarmed with mid-terms.

With that being said, the Aggie faithful did not disappoint. The game was for the seniors, and not just the ones on the court, but the ones in the fans as well.

Follow me on Twitter @TheBradyHunch

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