Aggies send Cougars back to Provo with tails between legs, win 71-61

The USU fans and players gave BYU a huge Spectrum welcome Wednesday night, after waiting since the last match up between the two in-state rivals in 2005. The Aggies defeated the Cougars 71-61 in front of a raucous sell-out crowd.”It’s a great win for us against a quality team that’s going to be awfully good this year,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said after the game. “I can see why they are picked to win the Mountain West (Conference) this year. They’re a very good team.”For the second game in a row, USU took over the game with a strong showing in the second half. This was due in large part to the strong play of Jared Quayle. The senior point guard and team leader had a game-high 22 points, to go along with four assists, five rebounds, and one steal. This was especially impressive, considering that Quayle had to play the majority of his 35 minutes in foul trouble. Quayle was also looking to take the ball to the hole, as he shot an astounding 13 free throw attempts, making 11.”When your shots are falling, you play a lot more aggressive on the offensive end,” Quayle said. “You feel like you’re not going to miss, and that’s what it felt like for me for a little while there. I just try to be aggressive, get to the rim, and make plays for my teammates.””He (Quayle) got rolling, and when he gets rolling, he starts making shots and getting to the line,” Morrill said. Quayle was not the only Aggie to have a good game, as it seemed to be an all-around team effort by the home team. Post players Tai Wesley and Nate Bendall had big performances. Wesley had 13 points, nine rebounds, and one assist. The Provo native also had a strong defensive showing, holding BYU’s Jonathan Tavernari to a dismal four points on 1-11 shooting. Bendall notched a double-double, as he had 14 points and 10 boards. Pooh Williams and Preston Medlin had impressive games also. Williams did a good job defensively on BYU star Jimmer Fredette, holding him to a frustrating 33% from the field on 15 attempts. Medlin came off of the bench to hit back-to-back three pointers, ending the game with an efficient eight points in nine minutes.”He (Medlin) is a gamer. We were told that when we recruited him,” Morrill said. “…When the lights go on, he is ready to play.””(Pooh) is our best option defensively. He is a really good defender, and he takes pride in his defense.”The Aggies were certainly inspired by the Spectrum crowd, as the building was filled to capacity well before tip-off. The usually rowdy fans were especially loud against the highly-anticipated rivals, as many students had camped out before the game to be sure to get a seat.”It’s as good as it gets in college basketball,” Morrill said when asked about the crowd. “They set the whole tone for how it is going to be. They might go over the edge a little bit, but it’s okay by me. It might not be okay by everybody else, but it’s okay by me.”Coach Morrill also commented on a particularly rambunctious Aggie fan. He mentioned a heavyset spectator on the front row named “Bill”, who distracted the Cougars by taking off his shirt and jumping up and down during BYU free throw attempts.”It’s kinda like me taking off my shirt. Probably not a great idea, but whatever it takes,” said Morrill.Utah State will now focus on St. Mary’s, as they put their 37 game home winning streak on the line against the Gaels. The Aggies will have Thursday off from practice, before using Friday to prepare for the match up on Saturday night in Logan.”They (the coaches) are going to let us have the day off tomorrow, to let us get rested,” Quayle said. “We’re going to have to come on Friday and be focused mentally and have a good practice… We are going to have to play hard on both ends, and be physical with them.”

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