Utah State overcame a slow start to defeat Western Oregon, pulling away after halftime to win 78-42. The Aggies used shutdown defense and rebounding to put away the Division II opponents early in the second half.”It was a game about like I expected. I’ve seen a lot of these games,” head coach Stew Morrill said. “You try to knock off a little rust after Christmas break, and you try to get your timing back.””We had a lot of open looks. I thought we defended a lot better in the second half. We got everybody some time, and it’s on to WAC play. That is where it’s at.”USU showed lots of hustle and desire against the Wolves, and it was evident in the box score. The Aggies had a whopping 23 second chance points, in comparison to Western Oregon’s 0 points off of second chances. Utah State out-rebounded Western Oregon, 42-24, 15 of which were of the offensive variety. USU was stingy on defense, especially after the intermission. They held the Wolves to a meager 12 points on 19% shooting in the second half.”Basketball is a lot about mentality… In the first half, we weren’t aggresive enough on defense,” junior forward Tyler Newbold said. “The second half we picked it up. We’ve got to make sure that we have that attitude the whole game on the defensive end. If we do that, we will win a lot of games.”Newbold had a strong game, achieving his long-held goal of a double-double. He ended the game with 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with three assists. Newbold was also tough on defense, as he and Pooh Williams combined to hold Western Oregon’s leading scorer, Matt Schmidt, to four points on 2-9 shooting. Schmidt was averaging 15.4 points coming into the game.”It’s always been a goal of mine, to get a double-double. I’m excited about it. I’ve came close a few times,” said Newbold. “It’s something that I need to do to help our team out, is to rebound the ball. Hopefully I can continue to do it.””I told our team afterwards, that as a coach you wish every guy would play as hard every single day as Tyler Newbold,” Morrill said. “Every day, every game, every shoot-around, every practice, he is going to give you everything he’s got… He is a guy that you love to coach.”USU was also got a productive performance from point guard Jared Quayle. The lone senior on the team had a game-high 18 points in 19 minutes of playing time. He was on fire from behind the three point line, shooting a perfect 4-4 from downtown. Quayle also had five rebounds and three assists on the night.”The thing with shooting is that you’ve got to just keep your confidence up and just keep shooting,” Quayle said. “Somedays you won’t make a bucket, and then some other days you’ll just go on a streak and just keep hitting them. You just can’t stop shooting.”Utah State will now focus on preparing for a tough WAC road trip. The Aggies will travel to Las Cruces, New Mexico to play NMSU on Saturday, and then will head to Ruston, Louisiana to face Louisiana Tech next Monday.”We are going to have to be sharp and ready to go at Las Cruces and at LaTech,” Morrill said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a team start (conference) with five out of seven on the road. I’m not really sure how that happens. I know that our league scheduling is really bizzare with nine teams… I guess they’re trying to put it to the defending league champions, I don’t know.”
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