LOGAN — The Utah State big men were supposed to get their biggest test of the young season Wednesday night against Utah's size and length.
Instead, the Aggies gave the Utes a lesson in post moves and rebounding.
Tai Wesley had a season-high 21 points and Brady Jardine, who was averaging just over six points a game for the season, went for 14 in the first half alone on his way to a career-high 20 point game in the Aggies' 79-62 victory. Even the injured Nate Bendall got a layup in his first minutes of the season.
"I thought we outworked them," Wesley said when asked about dealing with Utah's length. "I thought Brady Jardine was a beast. You couldn't box that kid out. He outjumped them. He had more energy. It was Brady Jardine that really set the tone for us on the inside."
"I've had some missed shots and things the last couple games," Jardine said. "Tonight I said, 'Forget it, I'm going to play; I'm going to have fun.' "
Routinely the much smaller Aggie big men found a way to score over and around the Utes' 7-footers, Jason Washburn and David Foster.
"That is as good a game as Brady Jardine has had as an Aggie," USU coach Stew Morrill said. "It was nice to see. He was active on the boards. He was confident making shots and making free throws."
It was not just the scoring that killed the Utes, it was also the rebounding.
Jardine set a career high with 13 rebounds, while Washburn and Foster combined for just four boards.
For Jardine, the rebounding is coming as a challenge from Morrill.
"I mentioned to Jardine that, in 25 years of coaching, I've never had a guy average as many rebounds as I did my senior year and I'd sure like that to happen," Morrill said. "When I was at Gonzaga, I averaged 9.6. He has really focused on going out and trying to board the ball and try and lead this conference in rebounding."
"It's a fun goal I've got," Jardine said of his rebounding challenge. "Just playing hard and trying to help my team. With my size and strength and things, I feel like it is something I should do is rebound the ball. So I'm going to do my best at that all year."