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LAST HURRAH: Jaycee Carroll high-fives fans as he leaves the Spectrum court after what was likely his last home game. Click Arts&Life for a link to photos. / Photo by Tyler Larson

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Grammatically Speaking:

"We owe much to our mother tongue. It is through speech and writing that we understand each other and can attend to our needs and differences. If we don't respect and honor the rules of English, we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well. In short, we invite mayhem, misery, madness, and inevitably even more bad things that start with letters other than M."

--Martha Brockenbrough, grammarian and founder, National Grammar Day

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Coach Morrill ties USU career record with victory over New Mexico State

HANDS UP! Tai Wesley grabs a loose ball in heavy traffic against New Mexico State. / Photo by Seili Lewis

By Jake Williams

January 14, 2008 | On a night hyped by Jaycee Carroll's pursuit of the Utah State career scoring mark, it was the home-team defense that secured Stew Morrill his 225th career victory, tying the record set by legendary coach E. Lowell Romney.

Morrill downplayed his milestone 74-62 victory, focusing his attention instead to the more short-term task of competing for a WAC championship.

"You gotta protect home court if you're going to be in the race," said Morrill. "Finally we won a game with our defense."

Utah State controlled the action early, taking leads of 9-4, 16-6, and 20-10 by 11:42 remaining in the first half.

MINE! Gary Wilkinson controls a rebound. / Photo by Seili Lewis

Freshman forward Tai Wesley kept NMSU trailing early, recording a block, two rebounds and a steal before picking up his third foul and sitting out with 10:54 left in the half. With the dominant forward sidelined, New Mexico State finished an 11-0 run to take a 21-20 lead.

All-American candidate Jaycee Carroll entered the game needing 46 points to surpass Greg Grant's career scoring total of 2,127 points but struggled offensively, scoring just 15 points in 40 minutes of action.

Defensively, Carroll was charged with the tall task of limiting NMSU guard Jonathan Gibson's impact. Despite Gibson's final scoring total of 22, Carroll held him in check for extended stretches of the game.

USU junior forward Gary Wilkinson had a monster game, recording 18 points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes. Wilkinson also dominated the paint on the defensive end between Wesley's third foul in the first half and senior forward Stephen DuCharme's awakening in the second half. DuCharme finished with seven rebounds, and his presence in the paint was a major factor in NMSU's taking 30 of its 68 field goal attempts from beyond the arc. The southern Aggies made just eight treys.

DuCharme said after the game that he was energized by the home crowd.

"The crowd sure helped a lot. We had great attendance," said DuCharme.

The home crowd of 9,986 shook the building at times, and the Utah Statesman awarded Fan of the Game to a sextet of shirtless students who together spelled out A-G-G-I-E-S across their chests. Dan Sheets, the "S" majoring in journalism-public relations, commented on being a USU fan: "It almost feels like you are contributing to the game by cheering as wildly as humanly possible. The game feels like a life and death matter."

USU was confused throughout the game by New Mexico State's switching among man-to-man, zone and box-and-one defenses in addition to an occasional three-quarter court press.

Utah State led 60-48 with 7:00 remaining before a stifling defense and alternating three-pointers by Gibson and NMSU guard Fred Peete allowed NMSU to tie the game at 60 apiece.

Utah State finished the game on a 14-2 run to make the final score 74-62.

Morrill and Carroll will continue their respective pursuits of Aggie history at home with games against Boise State Thursday and Idaho Saturday Both games tip off at 7:05 p.m. in the Spectrum.

Morrill needs one win to break his tie for career wins and Carroll now needs 31 points to own the career scoring record.

"Good thing is maybe Jaycee will break his record at the same time and we'll just talk about him," said Coach Morrill.

Utah State is now the lone WAC team undefeated in conference play.

Jaycee Carroll ended the game 31 points shy of breaking the USU career record for points. / Photo by Seili Lewis


Copyright 1997-2008 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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