Aggies to try to make it 11 in a row Thursday at Nevada
By Wade Denniston
The Aggies (10-0, 19-5 overall), who are already 5-0 on the road in conference play this season, can tie the school record with their sixth consecutive win on the road against the Wolf Pack (3-7, 5-16).
This will be the second meeting between the two schools this year as USU defeated Nevada, 69-54, last Thursday night in the Spectrum. Since that meeting, Nevada has played just one game, losing 62-52 at the University of the Pacific (USU's opponent Saturday at home), and have lost four in a row overall.
Utah State is coming off one of its most successful wins in recent history as it defeated Long Beach State University, 71-63, Saturday night at The Pyramid, in Long Beach, Calif.
Both teams were 9-0 going into that matchup, and the 49ers had the nation's longest winning streak at 15, but the Aggies took control of the game in the first half by using a 25-4 run, after falling behind 12-6.
"To go into Long Beach and win was special," said Utah State head coach Stew Morrill. "Long Beach is very, very talented and had won 15 in a row. To go in there and win was just special. It's the only thing you can say about that.
"I've enjoyed the Long Beach win a little bit longer than I have some, but now all of a sudden, there's Nevada."
As they did in the first meeting with the Wolf Pack, the Aggies will be keying on freshman Terrance Green, who is 12th in the Big West in scoring at 15.0 points per game, but had just 11 points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field, 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in Logan.
However, it could be a different story at home for the 6-foot-2 guard from Portland, Ore., where he is averaging about 10 more points there, than on the road.
"Green's averaging about 15 on the road, and about 25 at home," Morrill said. "That happens a lot as the guy's career goes on, but the numbers tend to be more consistent as you get older. You get used to playing on the road, but for a freshman, that stat really makes sense to me."
And scoring isn't the only thing that concerns USU about Green.
"I'll tell you what, when you're trying to guard that kid off the dribble," Morrill said, "I was amazed how quickly he went around anybody we had."
While Nevada will more than likely look to Green to help lead it to victory, Utah State will continue to do what has proved to be successful for it all yearplay good defense, and play unselfishly.
As of Sunday, the Aggies are ranked second in the conference in defensive field goal percentage (allowing 40.7), and second in scoring defense (giving up 61.6 a game).
The first time around, Utah State held Nevada to just 37.7 percent in the game on 20-of-53 shooting.
"Our constant has been our defense," Morrill said, "but you still have to go make some plays offensively."
On that side of the ball, USU ranks second in the league in field goal percentage at 46.5 per game, second in scoring margin at plus 9.5 and fifth in scoring at 71.1 points per contest.
All that, considering the Aggies don't have one player in the top-15 of the Big West in scoring. Utah State has three players averaging 11.9 per game (Shawn Daniels, Troy Rolle and Tony Brown), and two players at 9.2 (Dimitri Jorssen and Bernard Rock).
"We don't have a guy worry about how many shots he's going to get, we don't have a guy worry about how many points he's going to get, averages, any of that kind of stuff," Morrill said.
But, the Aggies do need one thing out of all their players in order for them to be successful.
"We have to have everybody do their job," Morrill said. "We can have a given night when maybe one guy doesn't play well. Actually, (against) New Mexico State we had three guys not play well offensively, and still won. That's unique, but . . . we really do rely on everybody doing their job."
This will be the 28th meeting between the two schools with the Aggies leading the overall series, 20-7.
The last time Utah State won at Nevada was on March 8, 1996, during the Big West Tournament, a 70-65 victory. The last time the Aggies won a regular season game against the Wolf Pack in Reno was Jan. 8, 1996, a 75-71 overtime victory.