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Steve Luhm and Lya Wodraska
Steve Luhm and Lya Wodraska cover Utah State athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. Lya Wodraska is on twitter at @LyaWodraska, Steve Luhm is on twitter at @sluhm

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Utah State basketball notes — Stew Morrill talks Eustachy, Nevada loss and more

Some extra notes and quotes to get you prepped for tonight's CSU-USU basketball game:

• Stew on Eustachy: I did a story for today's paper on former Utah State coach Larry Eustachy's tenure in Logan, which many credit for helping set the table for Stew Morrill. I thought I'd add some quotes from and about Morrill that didn't make the cut in the final edition.

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Morrill said he didn't remember what it was like to follow Eustachy at Utah State - "That's 16 years ago. I remember being excited to come here and Larry being here five years and doing a good job." - but he did talk at more length about Eustachy's overall career. He was among those who put in a good word for Eustachy when Chuck Bell considered hiring him.

"I've always respected the job Larry has done wherever he's been," he said. "His kids are always going to play hard. They're hard to beat because they make you beat them, they don't beat themselves."

Eustachy also had some kind words for Morrill in the same vein: "There's always been this kind of thing that Utah State is beneath the U and the Y, but I think Stew's proven you can win there. ... No one's done a better job than Stew at one place for such a long time. I'm talking about the best coaches in the country with Izzo and Kyrzyzewski, really that good."

• Down the drain: The team did get a chance to review film from Saturday's game. It was ugly. Bad shots galore. They knew what it was.

Morrill has a profound strategy for dealing with that disappointment.

"You kind of have to flush it," Morrill said. "You talk about it for a long time after and you talk a little about it on Monday, but then you have to flush it and move forward. The great thing about basketball is that you usually don't have to wait a week to play."

It seemed an agreed-upon point that Utah State missed several open shots they usually make. And Morrill expects his Aggies to make more of those shots the next time. He spoke to a bit of desperation, but also trigger anxiety, that led to some of the misses.

"The challenge for us is to play better than we did at Nevada if we're going to have a chance to win," he said. "We've got to make some shots which we didn't do at Nevada. Hopefully we'll play with the passion we need to play with."

• Relentless rebounding: As I pointed out in a notebook earlier this week, Colorado State isn't rebounding quite like it did last year, but the boards will still be critical in the game Wednesday night. The Aggies are preparing as such.

J.J. Avila (7.5 rpg) and Daniel Bejarano (9.1 rpg) lead the team on the glass, and are not incidentally the Rams' top scorers with 18.6 ppg and 15.4 ppg respectively. Preventing offensive rebounds and putbacks will be especially key for a team that can whip up a lot of points in a hurry. It's clear that all of Colorado State's players have put rebounding work in.

"[Eustachy] probably does a heck of a lot more drills than we do rebounding-wise," Morrill said. "That is where he has hung his hat as a coach for a long, long time. That's one thing his teams are really known for."

***

See you tonight.

— Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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