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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 no match for Gael force

By Tim Olsen

February 22, 2009 | Utah State took the court Saturday as the only team to play and never lose an ESPNU BracketBuster game. After a hard-fought battle the Ags saw that streak snapped as well, as they fell to Saint Mary's, 75-64.

It was senior night in Moraga, Calif., but despite a raucous sold-out crowd at the McKeon Pavilion, USU stayed close to the Gaels and used a 6-0 run to pull out of an early 6-2 hole and take a two-point lead on a pull-up jumper by senior Gary Wilkinson.

Saint Mary's used a run of its own to regain the lead, but behind a Brady Jardine three-point play and a Stavon Williams three-pointer, the Aggies stayed close and looked to be in good position heading into the intermission.

Near the end of the half however, costly turnovers hurt the Ags and spurred the Gaels on a 9-3 run over the final three minutes of the period. For the second week in a row the Aggies headed into the half with a deficit in a hostile environment, as they trailed 38-29.

In the second half the Aggies needed to make a run to get back into the game and put the pressure back on Saint Mary's. But, it was the Gael's who would go on a run, extending the lead even more.

Behind the interior presence of Omar Samhan, the Gaels put USU in its biggest hole of the season. With 16:45 left in the game the Aggies found themselves on the wrong side of a 45-31 deficit.

Samhan finished the game with 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 12 rebounds and four blocks, but it was sophomore guard Mickey McConnel -- Patty Mills' replacement -- who led the Gaels with a career-high 22-points.

On the verge of getting rolled over on the road, the Aggies would answer. Sparked by a Jared Quayle three-pointer the Ags went on a 9-2 run to cut the lead in half with more than 12 minutes to play.

Over the next few minutes the teams traded baskets and it seemed as if the Aggies would not be able to pull any closer until Pooh Williams connected on a triple, cutting the lead to five, 58-53, with five minutes to play.

Aided by great defense and some Gael mistakes, the Ags seemed primed to make one more run, and when Quayle connected on an NBA-length three-pointer that cut the lead to three with 2:06 left, it looked as if USU would to be able to pull off the comeback.

In the end though, it was too little too late. Empty possessions down the stretch stymied the Aggie run and Saint Mary's was able to make enough free throws to seal the game.

Quayle led the Aggies with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting but also accounted for five of USU's nine turnovers. Wilkinson was the only other Aggie to score in double figures, pumping in 16 points.

The Aggies will return to conference action this week when they host Hawaii at 7 p.m. Thursday. A win against the Warriors would give the Ags the outright regular season WAC conference championship, and guarantee them an automatic bid to the NIT tournament if they happen to miss the NCAA tournament.

MS
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