topple Hawaii for regular season WAC championship, cut
down the nets
By Craig Morris
February 27, 2009 | The Aggies beat Hawaii, 82-62,
in the Spectrum to secure the first outright regular
season WAC championship with two conference games left
Encouraged by chants of "MVP! MVP!," Gary Wilkinson
led all scorers with 27 points, adding seven rebounds
and two assists. Tai Wesley was back to his usual dominant
self with 16 points, eight boards, and three assists.
The Utah State bigs were just too much for the Rainbow
Warriors, outrebounding them, 36-25.
The two teams traded baskets early and kept the game
close for a little more than 10 minutes. Brady Jardine
gave the Aggies yet another huge spark off the bench.
"I always kid that our people like him so well cause
they're not used to a white guy jumping that high,"
USU coach Stew Morrill said of Jardine. "Got some good
days ahead of him for sure."
Utah State led by as many as 25 late in the second
half, but the pesky Warriors used a full-court press
to pull it back within 14, which forced Morrill to put
the starters back in to put the game away.
The lead was enough in the final few minutes to give
some of the other guys a chance to play. Local favorite
Clint Lee made the most of his minutes, scoring on a
layup with less than a minute left on the clock for
his first field goal of the season.
On a night where the big men dominated the post, Tyler
Newbold made a huge statement as well with his hustle
and leadership on the court.
"[Tyler] Newbold does everything that doesn't show
up in a stat sheet," said Wilkinson. "As a player, as
a coach, as a teammate, you love to play with Tyler
Newbold. He makes this team better."
He didn't do too bad of a job with the stat sheet
either, notching 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
The Rainbows had three players in double figures,
but they came up short on a night when the Ags just
would not be denied. It was in the air; they were not
going to lose.
The next test will be Saturday at Nevada, where the
Aggies will look to make a statement. They host San
Jose State on March 7 for the last regular-season game
and return to Reno for the WAC tournament the next week.