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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, Amazon.com and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Ags overcome miracle shot at Fresno to keep winning streak alive

By Tim Olsen

February 2, 2009 | For the second time this season, the Fresno State Bulldogs took the league-leading Utah State Aggies to the wire. The Aggies learned a lot about themselves and their resilience in an incredible 83-77 overtime win on Fresno's home court.

The Aggies also learned that when playing Fresno State, they can't leave any time on the clock for the Bulldogs just ask the football team.

Holding on to a one-point lead, USU's Jared Quayle was fouled with 0.6 seconds to play. He made both free-throws to give the Ags what looked to be a safe three-point lead with so little time left on the clock.

Enter Sylvester Seay, Fresno State's athletic forward who gave the Aggies fits in Logan. Seay subsequently caught and let fly a 65-foot heave as the buzzer sounded. Incredibly, the shot found its mark and rattled home, tying the game at 72 -- and sending it to overtime.

"A lot of teams in those circumstances would've been done," USU head coach Stew Morrill said in a postgame radio interview. "I couldn't be prouder of the composure and the toughness . . . we keep finding a way to win close games."

The victory left USU at 21-1, their best start in history.

Despite the huge momentum boost the miracle shot gave the home team, the unflappable Aggies scored the first five points of the overtime period. Led by senior Gary Wilkinson's career-high 33 points and sophomore Tyler Newbolds lone basket of the game a three-pointer with 1:32 to play the streaking Aggies held off the Bulldogs.

"That's what this team is, is a solid team, and I think that we're all in it to win it, and we're in it together," Wilkinson said in a postgame radio interview. "I think that shows a lot for us as a team . . . we just pulled it together and did what we've done all year and found a way to win."

Wilkinson had another huge night on the road for USU, going 14-of-17 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the charity stripe. He hit his first seven shots in the game, and had nearly half of the Aggies' points in the first half.

"Our post guys were unbelievable at the start of the game . . . just a great win for the Aggies," Morrill said.

Unlike the first game of the season, the Aggies led for most of the first half as they shot 61.5 percent in the opening period. Despite that hot start, the Ags could not pull away from the Bulldogs, but a three-pointer by Quayle just 25 seconds before the half gave USU a little breathing room and sent them into the locker room up 33-29.

Coming out of the locker room, the Ags again pounded it inside. Sophomore Tai Wesley hit a jumper and then found Wilkinson for a dunk that extended the Aggie lead to seven.

Fresno State would cut the lead right back to one, but again the Aggies would extend it, eventually opening up their biggest lead of the game, 46-38, on a Wesley layup with 12:44 to play.

The Bulldogs got a big momentum boost a short time later as Wesley was whistled back-to-back on two questionable calls. All of the sudden he found himself with four fouls and had to head to the bench with 9:32 left in the game.

With Wesley on the bench, the Bulldogs battled back and tied the game at 62 on a layup by Seay with less than three minutes to play. From that point the game was back and forth.

Trailing with only 28.7 seconds left and needing to force a turnover, Fresno State was pressuring the Aggies when Wesley and Wilkinson combined for what may have been the play of the game.

Wilkinson sneaked behind the defense and Wesley, doing his best Peyton Manning impression, lobbed it to the streaking redhead who slammed it home for a dunk. The Bulldogs' Paul George made a layup with 2.6 seconds to play, cutting the lead to one, and setting up the final series of events.

Quayle finished the game with 18 points eight rebounds and five steals for the Ags, while Wesley continued his streak of good play by chipping in 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

After a wacky week of travel, USU will now return to the Spectrum, where the Aggies look to keep their many streaks alive against New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech.

"We've just got to take a win like this, enjoy it, and focus on what we've got to do better," Wilkinson said.

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