Slowing down Lillard is key for Utah State

LOGAN – Weber State hasn’t had a player with as much talent as Damian Lillard since Harold “The Show” Arceneaux laced up his sneakers for the Wildcats a decade ago.

He is a very good guard who makes plays. He can shoot the basketball, and he can get on a roll, much like Jaycee Carroll, where it doesn’t matter if you have a hand in his face, Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill said of Lillard, the 2010 Big Sky Conference Player of the Year.

The Aggies open the season Saturday night at home with Lillard and the Wildcats. The game tips at 7 p.m.

According to Nbadraft.net, a popular website for NBA draft news, Lillard is going to have a professional future. In its 2012 mock draft, the site has Lillard going late in the first round because of his ability to hit the deep three-pointer and his ability to penetrate defenses.

The Aggies will likely use the combination of All-Western Athletic Conference defender Pooh Williams and newcomer Brockeith Pane to match up on the 6-foot-2-inch Lillard.

Early in his career at Utah State, Pane looks to be a great defender. However, having only played in two exhibition games, it may be too early to tell if that will carry over all season, while Williams is a proven commodity.

In his two games against the Aggies last year, Lillard averaged 21 points. In the second game, the Aggies held Lillard to seven first-half points, but he exploded for 15 in the second half. The Aggies still won the game, 85-73.

“What we are going to have to do is make him earn every basket he gets,” Morrill said. “I don’t think that we did that last year in the second half of our game in Logan. He just went off and got them right back into the game. Once he was rolling there wasn’t a whole lot that we could do about it.”

If Pane and Williams make Lillard earn his points, the Aggies could be looking at their fourth straight victory against their in-state rival.

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