muzzle the Bulldogs, get first WAC win
By Dave Archer
January 15, 2007 | Utah State head coach Stew Morrill
constantly preaches defense to his squad.
And why not? After all, this is a team that allowed
their opponents to shoot a combined 52.3 percent from
the field and average 78 points a game in two conference
losses this month.
Saturday night at the Spectrum, however, it looked
as if the Aggies were starting to listen to that preaching.
Utah State picked up its first WAC victory of the season
with a 69-49 victory over Louisiana Tech, which included
a strong second-half defensive performance that saw
the Aggies hold the Bulldogs to just 17 points on 25
"We played better defense the second half," guard Kris
Clark said. "I think our zone helped out a lot."
No kidding. After the Bulldogs took a 43-42 lead on
a three-point bucket by Drew Washington with 14:18 to
go, the Aggies put the clamps down on the defensive
end, holding Louisiana Tech to just two points over
the next seven-plus minutes of play.
The Utah State offense was able to take advantage of
the dry spell, scoring 19 points of their own during
"Our defensive intensity picked up a whole lot, which
lead to a good offense," Clark said. "The more defense
we play, the more fast break points we get."
That intensity included holding the Bulldogs' leading
scorer Chad McKenzie to just two points in the second
half after he scored a team high 11 in the opening half.
Jaycee Carroll once again led the way for the Aggies,
pouring in 27 points on nine-of-15 shooting. He also
added nine rebounds and five assists, but for once it
wasn't his offense that drew the praise of his teammates
"(Jaycee) played a whole lot better defensively," Clark
said. "He contained a lot of their guys, kept them from
going to the basket."
Coach Stew Morrill also took notice of Carroll's efforts
on the defensive end. "He was very aggressive, he was
ready to go on the boards, (he was) scoring the ball,
and I think he was better defensively than he's been,"
Morrill said. "He just had a really good all-around
Carroll was more than happy for the recognition.
"That's good to hear, especially if Coach Morrill mentioned
it," he joked.
Yet Carroll realizes that defense is an area where
he knows he can improve.
"I can't be a liability for our team on the defensive
end," he said. "It'll continue to be a focus, continue
to be somewhere where I feel I'm lacking and I need
to get better."
Carroll had plenty of help from his teammates, however,
as Clark, Durrall Peterson and Chaz Spicer each had
three steals for the Aggies, while Nick Hammer had one.
The team also had four blocked shots on the night, with
Peterson, Spicer, Stephen DuCharme and Chris Sessions
all recording one a piece.
The Aggies, now 1-2 in WAC play, are relieved to get
that first conference win under their belt.
"It's a good feeling," Carroll said. "I think last
year we were 1-2 at one point, so we're about in the
same boat. We'll see if we can rattle a couple off in
a row now."
They will next play host to 2-13 Idaho on Monday night,
a team the Aggies know they can't overlook.
"I think any team in the WAC, anybody can beat anybody
at any given time," Clark said. "We have to play them
just as hard as we played these guys."
Tip-off for Monday's game at the Spectrum is set for