Aggies to face improved UVU team in Orem

LOGAN – After a dominating win against an NAIA Great Falls team, Utah State basketball has evened up its record at 4-4. A game against a seemingly better-than-expected Utah Valley is next up in Orem on Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Aggie team has lopsided wins, it has equally big losses.

There has only really been one close game, but it wasn’t exactly a back-and-forth, neck-and-neck-through-40-minutes-type of close game. USU had a 14-point halftime lead against Indiana State, and then was outscored by 15 in the second half to lose at the buzzer.

The other three losses were by double digits. The four wins came by an average of 20 points

It is tough to know what to expect against UVU this Saturday, but expect some 3-pointers from guys in green. The Wolverines are an all-time 0-11 against USU, but look better than ever this year. The 11 new guys on its roster helped defeat BYU in Provo 114-101, that same BYU that beat the Aggies by 14 in Salt Lake City last week. UVU’s three losses include a defeat at No. 8 Gonzaga and two seven-point losses to Pac-12 teams – one at Washington State, the other Tuesday at Utah.

USU head coach Time Duryea said UVU’s 3-point attack has helped the team get off to an impressive start.

“They have made big shots, both from the 3-point line and inside the 3,” he said. “They’ve made clutch 3’s and have done a good job of just staying at it. They continually come at you, continually attack and that is the most impressive thing about them when I watch them. They stay on the attack and they play together.”

There isn’t really one guy on UVU that takes care of most of the scoring. Three guys average right around 14 points, two others average around 10.

“They are very balanced,” Duryea said. “They basically have five guys averaging in double figures, from every position on the floor. That is a testament to the way they play together and the way they move the ball. They are not playing through one guy.”

One of those 14-point guys, Isaac Nielson, separates himself by averaging 10.3 rebounds per game. Duryea said he also bring balance by being the inside guy, while most of the others hang around the perimeter.

“He does a great job in the pick-and-roll game,” he said. “Catching the ball on the move with crafty finishes around the basket.”

Redshirt junior Brandon Randolph leads the team with 6.3 assists per game. Duryea said he sees a lot of similarities in Randolph and his own guard, Shane Rector.

“Two guys that like to push it in the open floor, two guys that like to get into the lane and make things happen and two guys that can finish around the basket, finish in the lane” he said. “They are strong and athletic kids. I think that will be a key matchup in the game.”

Duryea said Alexis Dargenton will continue to start. His first start was against Great Falls on Tuesday.

“We’ve got to find some production there at that spot,” he said. “We’ve got to find some consistency offensively.”

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