Men's basketball: Aggies roll toward WAC wins record

Jan 15 2011 - 12:14am

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FRESNO, Calif. -- With a Western Athletic Conference record-tying 19th league win in a row in their sights, Stew Morrill is trying to get his Utah State Aggies to enjoye themselves a bit.

Of course, after a turnover-fill game on Thursday, Stew's still stewing.

"One of the things I have stressed to this team recently, our team, is that they need to enjoy the process of trying to win a fourth straight WAC championship, because there are not a lot of programs, and players, and teams that have that opportunity," Morril said earlier in the week. "So why not enjoy the process of trying to do that. What is the worst that can happen? Some guy is going to say you really screwed up, you only won three in a row. Let's try and enjoy, for six of these guys it is their senior year so let's try and enjoy it. Your careers are short. Try and enjoy what we have got going, try and get better because we need to get better."

Tonight, Utah State plays Fresno State at 9 p.m. MST in Fresno. A win would give USU a 19-game winning streak, tying Utah for longest by a WAC team. The Utes accomplished the task in the late 1990's.

Win No. 18 in a row came Thursday, when guard Brockeith Pane had 19 points and eight rebounds and senior guard Brian Green scored 16 points to lead the Aggies to a turnover filled 68-59 road win against Boise State. Both teams had been undefeated in WAC play goint in.

Utah State, who has won 10 straight games, improves to 15-2 on the season and 4-0 in WAC play with the win despite committing a season-high 22 turnovers including 14 in the final 20 minutes.

Pane finished the game shooting 8-of-14 from the field for his 19 points, while Green was 5-of-7 overall including making 5-of-6 from three-point range for his 16 points. Senior guard Tyler Newbold finished with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists for Utah State, while junior forward Brady Jardine had eight points and five boards.

* RUNNIN' UTES ON THE ROAD TO FACE WYOMING: The Utah men's basketball team (7-10, 0-3 MWC) takes on Wyoming (8-9, 1-2 MWC) at 1:30 p.m. at Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyo.

The Utes are searching for their first Mountain West Conference victory and hope to snap a seven-game losing streak, their longest skid since the 1949-50 season.

Utah is also looking to bounce back from a 104-79 loss to No. 11 BYU in its last action. Despite the score, the Utes walked away with several positive performances to build on, including the eighth 20-point performance of the season from junior wing Will Clyburn, who led the Utes with 23 points.

Freshman wing J.J. O'Brien contributed his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Junior center David Foster also pulled down a career-high 12 boards and chipped in a season-high six points, while junior guard Josh "Jiggy" Watkins dished out a career-high seven assists and scored 19 points.

Clyburn remains Utah's leading scorer and rebounder at 19.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, ranking No. 2 and No. 3 in the MWC, respectively. Josh Watkins is leading the Utes in assists with 3.5 per game.

Wyoming is coming off a 78-60 road loss at TCU, which followed a 67-66 home win over New Mexico. The Cowboys' offense is paced by Desmar Jackson's 15.4 points per game, while Djibril Thiam is their leading rebounder at 5.4 boards per contest. JayDee Luster tops Wyoming with 3.4 assists per game.

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