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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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Aggies look flawed but gut out a win at Idaho

By Tim Olsen

February 17, 2009 | It wasn't pretty, but as USU head coach Stew Morrill has been known to say, "A win is a win, and we'll take it."

Despite another less then stellar performance, USU added another game onto the nation's longest winning streak. The Aggies (24-1, 12-0), as they've been able to do all year, did enough to win, beating the Idaho Vandals Thursday night, 62-53.

Senior Gary Wilkinson led the Aggies, who tied a school record with their 19th straight win, with another double-double tallying 18 points and 10 rebounds.

USU led nearly from start to finish, but after recovering from horrendous shooting early, the Vandals (10-13, 4-6) pulled close and battled with the Aggies throughout the game.

"I'm very, very proud of the job V (Idaho coach Don Verlin) is doing," said Morrill in a post game radio interview. "I'm very happy we found a way to win, but he had them well prepared tonight."

Idaho had only lost two games on its home court this year under first year coach and longtime Aggie assistant Don Verlin, and the Vandals put up a fight. After trailing by as many as eight in the early going, Idaho was able to take the lead momentarily at 17-16.

Aided by nine first half turnovers USU turnovers, Idaho was only trailing the No. 21 Aggies by two at the half, 24-22.

In the second half the Vandals continued to pressure the Aggies, and though USU maintained its lead, the Ags could never pull away from Idaho.

With just less than five minutes to play the Aggies were clinging to a 2-point lead and the Idaho crowd was going crazy at the prospect of upsetting a Top 25 team.

Enter Jared Quayle.

The junior hit a tough jumper with the shot clock running down and then intercepted the ball as Idaho was bringing it up the court and turned it into a layup. That series of events gave the Ags a six-point cushion.

"That kind of gave us a cushion," said Quayle in a post game radio interview. "You can never let up, because teams can always come back."

Quayle finished with 12 points and was the only other Aggie to score in double figures.

Idaho would answer back again though when Luciano de Souza connected on his third triple of the night, cutting the lead in half with 3:21 to play.

Under pressure and with time running out, it looked like the Ags were going to turn the ball over and give the Vandals a shot at tying the game until Wilkinson connected on his biggest shot of the night. With 1:55 left and the Ags up by three, "Big Red" pulled up from long range and sank his third 3-pointer of the season. That play was enough to put the game out of reach and keep the nation's longest winning streak alive.

"I have total confidence in Gary Making that shot, he's a great shooter," Quayle said. "Once he let it go I knew it was going in."

More importantly for the Aggies, the win clinches at least a share of the regular season WAC title as well as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

"Our guys hang in there when things are tough," Morrill said. "They hang in and make just enough plays."

The Aggies now have a short time to put this game behind them as they travel to Boise to take on the third place Broncos tomorrow. Boise State has yet to lose a WAC game at home this year, while the Aggies are undefeated on the road.

"The kids are excited about it, and it's great to get this first one and head to Boise looking to get two," Morrill said. "That'll be a challenge."

MS
MS

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