Utah State Great Start
Utah State men’s basketball had great start to their season with a 78-65 victory over the USC Trojans Friday night. Jarred Shaw scored the first bucket on the first attempt of the game for the Aggies. Utah State finished the first half with a 7 point lead. At the start of the second half, Preston Medlin contributed to the Aggies by connecting a string of huge baskets that helped lead the Aggies to victory.
Shaw had an okay start to his season finishing the night with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks. Shaw looked great at the start of the game scoring the Aggies first 4 points and grabbing a rebound. After that Shaw showed up here and there. He did have a massive dunk that had the crowd going and two blocks back to back, but aside from that, he seemed to be overpowered by the USC centers. There were more than a few times where Shaw seemed to be looking at the rim rather than attacking it. Also, there were times Shaw ended up on the ground. I’m not sure if this was due to a slick floor or the setting of screens in the post. Shaw also could not seem to handle any USC player playing through the screen. I’m guessing the latter, unfortunately. Shaw needs to show he can be physical in the paint if he is going to be a factor moving forward.
Medin was a non-factor the first half Friday night. Only scoring 5 points and providing one rebound. Whenever Medlin would get off screens from the post, a USC defenseman was in his face ready to stop the attack. That all seemed to change at the start of the second as Medlin scored 11 points in the first 4 minutes and 30 seconds. It is hard to say if USC just seemed to be getting tired or if Medlin decided to turn his game up. After that Medlin seemed to vanish for the rest of the game.
Star of the Night!
Player of the game by far has to go to sophomore Kyle Davis. Kyle finished the night with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists. Davis was willing to get under the USC defense in the post through the night and attack the boards. Now he may not have always won the battle, but he was willing to put himself out there to help win the war. Davis needs to work on finishing under the rim on the offensive side. He seemed to lose control of the basketball when he was trying to score, but defensively Davis played very well, especially with the 3 big blocks.
Off the bench
Utah State got great help of the bench Friday night. Danny Berger provided a solid presence in the paint helping with 8 rebounds and providing 4 assists. Jordan Stone came of the bench and finished the night with 5 rebounds and 8 points. The bench really helped make up for a lack of Shaw being on the court for Utah State.
Utah State did not impress the way I hoped they would have. While they did win the game, the lack of physical play left me wanting more. Jarred Shaw needs to have a presence in the paint aside from when the ball floats right into his hands and Preston Medlin needs to show up on a consistent basis throughout the game as opposed to showing 3 or 4 minute periods where he shows his range. Other players like Kyle Davis, Danny Berger and TeNale Roland all fit into their roles very well. Kyle and Danny played great in the paint and TeNale does a good job of running the offense from the point. I’d like to see more aggressive play from TeNale though. I felt there were a few times he passed the ball rather than choosing to attack the rim.
The Aggies offense seemed one dimensional. They used Shaw in the post to set screens that allowed guards like Davis and Medlin to get out on the wing. That’s really where the offense seemed to end though. Maybe one time throughout the night Utah State set a screen at the top of the key. It really became predictable and USC was able to pick up on it. Utah State needs to attack the rim more oftern instead of passing the basketball back and forth to one another.