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Today's word on journalism

February 17, 2009

Why I miss my hate mail:

"It's an odd thing to admit, but in a perverse sort of way, I actually miss the wretched river, the rancid flow of puerile, nasty, sickeningly homophobic email I used to receive on a regular basis from the ultra-right and the Christian right and the Mormon right and the Bush-impaired whenever I would post a friendly, pointed column full of tangy liberal attitude. . . . . Oh, I miss all the lovely and positive email too, which outpaced the nasty stuff by a huge margin. But the hate mail was very special indeed, great fodder for live readings, for the reaction of horrified disbelief of anyone who saw it, for the charming reminder of just how ugly and violent and grammatically challenged the human animal can be."

--Mark Morford, columnist, (2/13/09)

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USU gets its first win -- and a satisfying one -- at Hawaii

By Tim Olsen

January 28, 2009 | The Utah State men's basketball team entered Saturday night's game having never won at Hawaii. With a little Polynesian influence, that all changed. Led by sophomore forward Tai Wesley, the Ags handled the Warriors, winning easily, 67-51.

After the game USU head coach Stew Morrill was excited about his team's first win at Hawaii.

"Just a great road sweep for us, " he said. "We're excited, that's for sure."

Early in the game the teams traded buckets, but with the score knotted at six, the Aggies (19-1, 7-0) used a 16-0 run to blow the game wide open. Sophomore Tyler Newbold ignited the run with back-to-back three-pointers and the Ags strapped down on defense.

Thursday weak, Saturday strong

During WAC play this season the Aggies have been playing games Thursday and Saturday nights, and there is a pattern emerging. Whether due to the caliber of opponents, the time in between games, or a good talking to from Morrill, this team is following an interesting pattern.

So far the Aggies in conference games against Louisiana Tech, Fresno State and San Jose State have struggled. All of those games have been played on Thursday nights. But, in games against New Mexico State, Boise State and Hawaii -- games all played on Saturday nights -- the Aggies have excelled.

This is one phenomenon that had better have a quick remedy, however, as USU hosts its toughest league opponent, Nevada, Thursday -- putting the nation's second-longest home winning streak and a possible national ranking on the line.

"That'll be a challenge, obviously they're playing well," Morrill said. "Hopefully we'll have a crowd that's excited and ready for them, so it should be fun."

Another Newbold trey with 6:20 remaining in the first half gave USU its biggest lead of the night, 30-10. All told the Aggies shot 63 percent from the floor in the first period while holding the Warriors (9-10, 1-6) to a meager 15 percent.

Heading into the intermission the Aggies led 36-19 and looked every bit like a team that hasn't lost since early December and is trying to break into the national rankings.

In the second half Hawaii picked up its shooting, and was able to put some pressure on the Aggies. Just four minutes in, the Warriors had cut the lead to 14 and they seemed to be gaining some momentum.

However, the Aggies weren't about to make the same mistake they did last season when they blew a 13-point second-half lead against Hawaii. Three quick inside buckets by Wesley, senior Gary Wilkinson and junior Jared Quayle extended the lead to 20.

Freshman Brady Jardine came off the bench to help the Aggies as he pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds while chipping in five points.

Just when it looked as if the Ags would coast to their first victory on the island, the home team showed it had one more run in store. Helped by a couple of three-pointers, Hawaii began to close the gap, and after forward Roderick Flemings hit a fade-away jumper with five minutes to play the lead was cut to 12.

The efficient Aggies, though, were just too much. Wesley and Wilkinson scored inside and defense clamped down for the final few minutes as the Ags pulled away for the 16-point victory.

Wesley and Wilkinson both finished with a team high 15 points each, and Wesley pulled down 10 rebounds to record a double-double. Newbold and Quayle also scored in double figures for the Aggies with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

USU, the No. 1 field goal shooting team in the nation, recovered nicely from its worst outing of the season when the Ags shot only 38 percent from the floor at San Jose State. The Aggies did cool off after their blistering first half, but still finished the Hawaii game with a 50 percent shooting percentage while holding the Warriors to 28.6 percent.

The Aggies will now return home and prepare to take on Nevada (12-7, 5-1). The Wolfpack will enter the game having won five in a row along with having a week off to prepare. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Thursday.


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