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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

Ags escape pesky Spartans, 61-58, prepare for WAC tourney as No. 2 seed

A HUG FOR A FINAL HOME GAME: Durrall Peterson hugs Nate Harris on Senior Night. Harris played his last regular-season home game and earned all-WAC honors the next day. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

By G. Christopher Terry

March 5, 2006 | It was an emotional Senior Night for the Aggies Saturday as the fans said goodbye to four who have been part of a historical era of USU basketball.

Dave Pak, one of the great stories of college basketball; Chris Huber, a fan favorite from Garland; Cass Matheus, the Brazilian shot-blocker; and Smithfield's own Nate Harris, one of the all time greats at USU, were honored by a near-capacity crowd shortly before tipoff.

At halftime a parade of Aggie alumni came out to be honored including luminaries of varying vintages such as Rod Tueller, John Neil, Cardell Butler, Jeff Anderson and Pharoah Davis.

The Quotable Stew Morrill:

"Thank goodness for Chaz Spicer in the first half. I should have got him more minutes in the second, but it was a tough call because Cass was doing some things defensively. I wish I would have gotten him more minutes. I was well aware of it. All of the people yelling at me behind me really didn't need to do that."

"The kids badly wanted it. We missed our opportunity to finish first [in the WAC]. We didn't want to drop to fourth or fifth or whatever it would've been. And we were pressing. And they were guarding us on top of it."

"All the years I've coached, I've seen a lot of teams hang it up when they've lost that many games. That team [San Jose State] has not hung it up."

As for the game itself, the San Jose State Spartans lost, 61-58, to an Aggie team they led much of the second half, as, Coach Stew Morrill said, they have been doing all year long.

"I've been saying all along that this is what has happened to San Jose time and time again," the victorious coach said of his woebegotten opponent. "They're a much better team than their record."

Nate Harris led Utah State to victory as he has so often, scoring 19 points and hitting 9 of 10 from the line. Durrall Peterson scored six but had nine rebounds in his second straight game shooting more threes than Jaycee Carroll. Carroll broke his streak of 30 games hitting a three, going 0-3 in the first game he didn't start this year. Chris Huber started as part of Senior Night tradition.

A Huber three and two Harris free throws were the only points the Aggies scored during the first five minutes. Harris said it took the Aggies "about 10 minutes to figure out we were playing a basketball game."

Indeed, the best player in the Aggie Blue and Fighting White the first half was reserve Chaz Spicer, who finished with 14 points in limited minutes and was able to create his own shot when nothing else was working. Both Harris and Morrill used the words "thank goodness" in describing Spicer's performance.

The Spartans led for the majority of the first half before letting USU come alive and get up by seven going into the locker rooms. At the 13:10 mark in the second, San Jose's Spencer Carlton hit the first of three threes, which tied the score. The run was capped by another Spartan three, this one by Alex Elam, and the Spartans were ahead again. They would hold the lead until 1:17 was left, when Matheus hit the first of four straight free throws.

"Those were huge free throws by Cass," Morrill said. "We were in deep trouble, but it's a win."

Even then it wasn't over. San Jose got three offensive rebounds on its final possession, when a three would have tied it. None of the attempts would go in though, and USU's senior night festivities continued unmarred.

Up next for the Aggies is the same team Thursday in Reno at the WAC tournament in what Morrill called a quick-turnaround game.

"I think we just have to go to the tournament and throw caution to the wind and just go play and see if we can win that sucker," Harris said.

"THANK GOODNESS FOR CHAZ SPICER":
That was the Aggies' sentiment after Spicer,
right, provided the lone spark in a sluggish
first half. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

 

 

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