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GOODBYE, FOR NOW: Fans slap hands with senior Nate Harris, at the head of the line, after the Aggies beat SJSU to secure the No. 2 WAC seed. See story in Sports. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

Today's word on journalism

Monday, March 6, 2006

"Neutrality in journalism means refusal to take sides. Many newspapers are neutral with regard to certain issues. Hardly a newspaper exists which is completely neutral upon all issues. Such a newspaper would be regarded as spineless. Just as the individual cannot escape taking sides against evils in life, so the newspaper necessarily has convictions against crime, corruption, and other evils in public affairs."

--George Fox Mott, journalism professor, in "An Outline Survey of Journalism," 1940

Aggies share the ball to get 20th win

LOSING THE NO. 2 POINT GUARD: Stew Merrill expresses his displeasure after an elbow knocks Chris Huber out of the game. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

By G. Christopher Terry

March 5, 2006 | Utah State outscored Fresno State, 87-77, Thursday night in the Smith Spectrum, with all five starters scoring in double figures as Coach Stew Morrill's squad won its 20th game of the season.

After having perhaps their worst outing of the season to date the previous Saturday, the Aggies responded by putting together a jewel of an offensive game.

Jaycee Carroll came out of the gate fast, diving onto the floor and winning a loose ball, crashing the offensive boards and scoring five early points, prompting Morrill to call him a "wild colt."

Carroll hit only two threes but compensated by driving to the bucket aggressively and finished with 18 points, tied with Nate Harris and Fresno's Quinton Hosely for the game high.

The Quotable Stew Morrill

On Chris Huber's injury: "I wasn't overly thrilled. He's our third guard, he's our backup point, he's our backup two. They tell me he can't play the second half, what the hell do you think I'm going to say? 'Great, that's just wonderful. What would you like me to do?' That's what I said to the medical people. I said, 'I've got no guards, what do you want me to do?' They just look at me, 'What do you want us to do?' I want you to come God-dang play, that's what I want you to do."

On USU's next opponent: "You talk about Boise being snakebit in close games, San Jose has competed night in and night out. They lost to Hawaii by one in a game they had won last weekend. If you just look at the record you're missing the fact that they can step up and beat someone. We don't need to let them beat us. We need to be ready to go; we can't lose our focus."

On the Aggies' response to their last game: "This is a good group. You've got to remember that I'm a jerk about little things. Don't raise your eyebrows at me, don't mutter something when you come off the court. Don't not shake hands after the game. We don't act like that around here. They were very understanding that we got frustrated the other night and didn't act right. I was more upset about that than losing the game. We're gonna act right; I don't give a damn if we get beat every game, we're gonna act right. That's my commitment to this university."

"He did a good job of not forcing shots. He passed up a couple of shots in fact and set up his teammates for some shots and that was nice," Morrill said. "His game is growing when he can do that."

Another player whose game grew for the Ags was Durrall Peterson, who played extensive minutes at point guard in the second half after Chris Huber was felled by a swinging elbow.

Peterson said competing against Division I athletes at the point is different, but, "I had to play a lot of point in junior college and high school so it kind of just brought me back to my roots." The sophomore had four assists against one turnover on the game.

Huber's injury wouldn't have been as crucial if Dave Pak, who scored 15, hadn't picked up his fourth foul early in the second half.

"We've been trying to play Durrall in practice there. Dave got the fourth foul at an inopportune time early in the second half and we had no choice to play Durrall there some, and he did a nice job," Morrill said.

Though the Aggies never trailed in the game and shot a scalding 60.4 percent from the field, they were never able to turn the game into an outright blowout.

Ja'Vance Coleman hit a three to cut Fresno's deficit to 84-77 with 1:19 to go, but that was the last basket the visitors scored. Both teams handed out twice as many assists as turnovers; the Aggies were 22-11 and the Bulldogs 14-7 in turnover-assist margin.

"We had to outscore them," Morrill said, "fortunately we shot 60 percent and a good percentage from three. They missed enough shots and we were all right."

It was an eerily perfect night for the Aggies offensively and the numerical symmetry on the stat chart reflected it. Cass Matheus (12 points on 4-4 shooting) and Harris (18 points, 4 assists and a block) both had double-doubles with two offensive and eight defensive rebounds. Pak and Carroll both shot 2 of 4 from three; the point dished out seven assists and the shooter attempted eight two-pointers, making five.

"It seems like people have figured out I can make a few three-pointers," Carroll said, proving why he leads the WAC in both three-point shooting and understatements. "People fly out and if I can get them lifted a little bit I can go by them."

 

4 OF 4: Cass Matheus goes up for two of
his 12 points. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

PLAYING IT CLOSE: It was that kind of night. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

 

 

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