Sunday, March 2, 2008

WAC Title hopes still possible for Aggies

Utah State followed up a well-played 72-59 ESPN BracketBuster victory over UC Santa Barbara with a solid 86-59 dominating win over Louisiana Tech on Thursday in a return to conference play, setting their record at 20-9 overall and 9-4 in the WAC.
The Aggies are among two other teams- Nevada (11-4, 19-10 overall) and New Mexico State (10-4, 17-13) with four conference losses, behind first-place Boise State (12-3, 22-7).
I was impressed by the play of both Gary Wilkinson and Tai Wesley in both games in the Spectrum. Wesley totaled 24 points and nine rebounds against the Gauchos before following that up with a 16-point, eight-rebound night versus the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, Wilkinson went 14/12 against La. Tech after going for 19/10 against Santa Barbara.
The play of the Aggies' bigs is pivotal to the final three conference games of the regular season, particularly on Thursday against Boise State, when they will take the floor against forward Reggie Larry and center Matt Nelson.
While Jaycee had a personal shoddy performance against the Gauchos with just 15 points, he followed that up with a quiet 30-point night against the Bulldogs, earning most of his points with drives to the hole and aggressive play in the open court during the second half.
Isn't that funny how, because of the standards that Carroll has said for himself, that I can actually say that 30 points can be "quiet" for him?
Kris Clark was shaky, but with nine assists against La. Tech, he set the single-season record for assists at Utah State after totaling nine against the Bulldogs.
The wings were particularly impressive in both games, especially Pooh Williams in Thursday's game, where he scored a personal career-high of six points on 3-3 shooting with two assists, a steal and no turnovers. Meanwhile, Tyler Newbold, in addition to Williams, played fine defense. What might be surprising for some people to know is while Jaycee remains first in the nation in three-point shooting percentage at 50.3 percent, Newbold is shooting at a 48.2 percent clip at 22-46.
Tomorrow's game against Fresno State is going to be packed both in the stands and in the emotions of loyal Aggie fans, especially those who have witnessed the play of Carroll over his four years in Logan. To be honest, it might be tough for me to hold it in as they introduce Jaycee Carroll for the final time. Well, at least I will be able to see him in Las Cruces at the WAC Tournament, and who knows, possibly in a home game in Logan if the Aggies fail to reach the NCAA Tournament and receive a home game in the NIT.

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