While some out there may dismiss Utah State’s 77-44 win over Idaho State as, well, being a win over Idaho State there were a lot of positives Aggie coaches, players and fans were taking from the start-to-finish tailwhipping of the Bengals.
For starters, Utah State played without the nasty second-half slump that cost the team victories at Utah and Northeastern. There were no prolonged stretches of offensive futility this time.
Pooh Williams was back in the starting lineup and, though the junior typically doesn’t fill up a stat sheet in any particular way, the Aggies are a much better team with him on the floor for one special reason — defense. Pooh balances the Aggies with some of the best on-the-ball defense the team has had in years.
That he can knock down a jumper or two doesn’t hurt either.
Tai Wesley, with the offensive focus more directed at him, is more aggressive and not afraid to attack. He’s always had incredible footwork and nimble hands. Now he’s driving and finishing.
And a college rule change making it more difficult for a secondary defender to pick up a charging foul, Wesley’s new-found freedom could make him especially dangerous.
Jared Quayle had his second sub-par offensive night with ‘only’ seven points. But he had seven assists and eight rebounds. Had he played more than 26 minutes he could have had a triple double without anyone noticing.
Brady Jardine, in the first extended playing time of the season, had a solid effort with eight rebounds — five offensive. He’s not a shooter, as evidenced by his wobbly jumper from the free throw line area and one from just a few feet out. But he’s got the ability to impact the game without scoring points. And he’s learning that.
The Spectrum was kind of quiet despite an announced crowd of 9,026. Many students had already headed home for the Thanksgiving break, but it was not a bad crowd — just kind of quiet.
Having won 35 games in a row in the building, Utah State has the second longest home-court winning streak in the nation behind Kansas’ 42 game streak.