continue pace with nation's highest field goal percentage
By Connor Jones
January 6, 2009 | The USU men's basketball team started
off its campaign for the WAC championship with a win
against the Idaho Vandals, 70-61.
Shooting 53.7 percent from the floor and 53.8 percent
from beyond the arc, the Aggies' offense was too much
for former USU assistant and first-year Vandal Coach
"Don has been with me 15 years, and it's always tough
to see someone go when they've been with you that long,"
Coach Stew Morrill said in a statement released by USU
Verlin's team shot 44 percent from the floor and 31.3
from three-point range, far behind USU's marks.
The Aggies' high-percentage field-goal shooting isn't
a new development -- as of Sunday, Utah State ranked
first in the nation in field-goal shooting at 52.3 percent.
Gary Wilkinson, senior forward, ranked 12th nationally
in field-goal shooting at 62.6 percent.
Last season's final statistics for all of the NCAA
placed Utah State ranked first in field-goal percentage
with 51.4, first in free-throw percentage with 79.2,
and ninth in three-point percentage with 40.1.
Utah State has had great stats and records for years,
but has never been able to break out into the mainstream
college basketball talk. That might be beginning to
change, as in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
USU received one top 25 vote and is ranked 42nd in the
Recently the seats around the Spectrum have been buzzing
with talk, "Could this be the year for a first-round
win in the NCAA Tournament, and maybe more?"
With the win Monday night the Aggies become 1-0 in
the WAC. They also became the only WAC home team in
the 2008-09 season to win in their conference opener.
After five straight home games, all of which were
wins, Morrill and his team travel to Louisiana Tech
for a Thursday evening WAC showdown on ESPNR at 6 p.m.
Last season USU easily handled Louisiana Tech and won
on both occasions they were matched up.
After the Louisiana Tech game, the Aggies travel to
the Pan American Center to face New Mexico State. The
last time New Mexico State hosted USU the Aggies had
17 turnovers and their defense allowed their only hundred-point
score of the season in a 70-100 loss.