Aggies have handled adversity well, Morrill says
It's the thing that every athlete says after a loss: We'll win the next one, we've got to get the taste out of our mouths.
That's something Utah State has done well lately, coach Stew Morrill acknowledged on Tuesday. And although the Aggies would've rather won their recent heart-breakers, Morrill said he's been proud of the way this squad has handled them.
"We have tried never to dwell, especially this time of year, on a tough loss," Morrill said. "You can't always control that as a coach. It has a lot to do with the mental makeup of the kids you're coaching. This group's been good that way."
After a overtime game against Denver that was lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, Utah State bounced back to take revenge on rival New Mexico State. When BYU beat the Aggies in Provo on an offensive putback with less than a second left, they took out the loss on Illinois State, dropping 80 points on them in a very shared team effort.
Morrill has talked about being disappointed by the missed free throws and turnovers that have led to the defeats, but acknowledged he's also admired how this group has dealt with adversity.
"I can't be displeased about much so far, especially since the injuries. You'd always like a basket here or there that gets you a win, but this group works hard. They've been resilient for the most part. They practice hard. ... I'm proud of this group to this point."
Of course the Aggies would like to end their habit of losing the first game in a week that has taken hold recently. That will be a challenge: The team's first game is against No. 25-ranked Louisiana Tech, the only AP-ranked squad it has faced this year.
Morrill said he's not looking forward to travelling to Ruston, La. - especially now.
"One thing we were talking about is they normally haven't drawn great crowds," he said. "I'm sure with being nationally ranked and the year they're having, we'll see a lot better crowd then we've seen down there in all the years we've been going there."
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon