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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

Nevada races to early lead, dismantles USU

MONSTER NIGHT: Nevada star forward Nick Fazekas, left, contesting a Nate Harris layup, had 23 points and 16 boards. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

By G. Christopher Terry

February 28, 2006 | When it was all over, USU had been handed its worst home loss since a 60-41 humiliation at the hands of Utah in 1996 that predated Stew Morrill's reign.

"There's no explanation," Morrill said of Nevada's 75-57 victory on the Aggies' home floor. "They just kicked our butt and they deserve all the credit in the world. They've got an awfully good team."

Nevada's junior standout Nick Fazekas was simply dominant, scoring 23 and pulling down 16 rebounds. He also had three blocks but was outdone by teammate DeMarshay Johnson, who had four, as the taller Wolf Pack post players took over.

Jaycee Carroll, the lone bright spot for the Aggies with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, said, "They were on you when you caught the ball. They made it tough to make shots and they made it tough for us to get the ball where we wanted it."

Quotable Stew Morrill

"I thought Nevada dominated every phase of the game. The reason we struggled is they defended us extremely well. We couldn't get clean looks at the basket."

"Their size bothered us and we were impatient offensively. When they'd guard our initial action we'd throw up a bad shot."

"It didn't look like the team we've had that's won 19 games."

"We outrebounded them because we missed so many shots, that's all. They shot a high percentage, we shot a low percentage and there's more rebounds to be had."

"Their size bothered us, their athleticism bothered us, and our reaction was to throw up a bad shot."

USU led 2-0 off an early Nate Harris bucket when Marcellus Kemp, who would end up shooting 5 of 6 from three-point range and leading Nevada with 26 points, sank two straight to make it 6-2. The Aggies never recovered.

"Kemp had an unbelievable game," Morrill said of the 6-foot-7 guard. Kemp's hot hand from three and Fazekas' statement performance were the two biggest differences between this match and the game the two teams played back on Jan. 23 when the result was a 59-53 Aggie victory.

Morrill said, "I thought Fazekas was like he is; he's a great player."

The 6-foot-11 inch junior forward's play backed that statement up to the hilt. Fazekas caught the ball at the top of the key and put it on the floor like a guard on one play, driving past Cass Matheus and scoring easily. He also hit a three-pointer, dunked the ball twice, and helped hold Nate Harris to an uncharacteristic 3-of-12 shooting performance.

Ramon Sessions' twisting jumper as time expired made the halftime deficit 13 for the Aggies, the same margin as against Northwestern State in the last home game.

"It's the second home game in a row where we come out like that and teams jump on us," Carroll said.

In the first nine minutes of the second half, it appeared USU was thinking comeback again. The Aggies whittled the deficit and got within five on a Chris Huber three, but then what Morrill called a "mental breakdown" occured, allowing Kemp to get free for an uncontested three-pointer.


"We were supposed to be in '32-12,' which is three-quarter court press back zone, and a couple of guys didn't get in it," Morrill said.

The Aggies never got so close again. Kemp added another three seconds later and the momentum was firmly with the visitors. With 19 seconds to go Kemp drained yet another three to put Nevada up by 21, the biggest lead of the game. Carroll, who never stopped running the entire 40 minutes he was on the floor and rounded out his stat line with a block and a steal, hit a garbage time three to bring the Aggies up to 57 points.

Durrall Peterson said the loss was tough but the Aggies are looking ahead now. "We'll come back strong and finish hard and hopefully see Nevada again in the conference tournament," he said.

USU plays Fresno State Thursday night in the Spectrum and will try to avenge a 99-96 double-overtime loss to the Bulldogs.

Every picture tells a story. / Photo by Robert McDaniel



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