Utah State basketball: Aggies shine at scoring, but lack defense in exhibition

Published October 26, 2013 2:18 pm

College basketball • USU displeased with 108-88 exhibition win.
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Logan •Â Give the Aggies an "A" for offense.

In their first exhibition Friday night, Utah State didn't shy from the hoop. Dunks, layups, 3-pointers — for all the defense Central Methodist could put up, cardboard cutouts would've done just as well.

That was the top positive the Aggies took out of their 108-88 win. But the other aspects might not grade out so high in their first on-court action this season.

Coach Stew Morrill was not too pleased at all with how his team defended — or didn't defend. Giving up 88 points won't beat anybody when the games count, he said.

"We don't have any stoppers right now," Morrill said. "On our championship teams through the years, we've had several. And we have none. Not one. Not one stopper post defender. Not one stopper in the perimeter."

The harsh words came after Central Methodist shot 56.3 percent on the Aggies, including nearly 62 percent from 3-point range. Melvin Tillman, a 6-foot guard, had a game-high 28 points.

Beyond getting the nets shot off, fouling was a consistent issue: Utah State gave up 27 total personal fouls, leading to 34 free-throw attempts for the Eagles and helping them stay in the game.

Of course, Utah State did win for a reason: Preston Medlin's 22-point night led a group of five Aggies who finished in double digits. The team shot 63.8 percent itself, burying Central Methodist in the paint with a 56-16 advantage. Every Aggie who got on the floor managed to score.

A core seemed to emerge: The trio of Medlin, Jarred Shaw and Spencer Butterfield scored 57 points between them. But down the depth chart, the Aggies had some standouts: Jalen Moore wowed with fast-break dunks, and Danny Berger was relentless around the rim.

But Utah State was expecting to win big Friday night, and Morrill was pleased with the offense and rebounding. But the Aggies were pretty uninspired by giving up so many points to an NAIA school.

"I don't remember the last time in an exhibition game we gave up those kind of numbers," he said. "Points, percentages, 3-point percentages, guys getting beat off the dribble, guys getting threes shot in their face. All the things that we've emphasized, that was really good for them. I think they understand the problem now."

Utah State was sharp on offense in the first half, shooting a blistering 74.2 percent from the field. By halftime, seven players had six or more points, with everyone getting mixed in on the attack.

But even then, fouls came fast: The Aggies had racked up 16 by the intermission. Utah State also struggled to guard the Eagles' 3-point shooters, who were 6 for 11 in the first half.

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Storylines

O Preston Medlin scores 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting.

• Spencer Butterfield scores 20 and Jarred Shaw has 15.

• Utah State shoots 63.8 percent of the field, but allows the Eagles to shoot 56.3 percent.