Utah State basketball: Aggies look to contain UCSB big man
UC Santa Barbara's star forward may only be 6-foot-7, but take it from UNLV: Alan Williams is a load in the middle.
The Rebels found that lesson out the hard way on Tuesday night as the Gauchos whipped UNLV in an 86-65 blowout, and Williams poured in 21 points. Now, Utah State has to figure out a way to deal with him on UCSB's home court Saturday.
Not an enviable task.
"They were just a clinic that night," coach Stew Morrill said. "We've got to try and disrupt them from being a clinic down there. That's probably easier said than done, but it's a good game for us right now."
All eyes will be on the big man matchup: Williams going against Jarred Shaw.
Williams is one of the best offensive rebounders in the country, cleaning up what his team can't put away the first time. He also has good touch, and get to the foul line often.
Shaw will likely have some defensive help on Williams, but poses an offensive threat himself. He's coming off a 24-point game in which he showed how well he can get to the rim and shoot it from mid-range.
It won't be all one-on-one, Morrill said. But it certainly is a challenging matchup for Shaw, who the Aggies are leaning on to be productive inside during his senior year.
"That will obviously be something to look at, but it's not ever quite that simple," he said. "They'll double Jarred, we'll double Williams some and they probably anticipate that."
Clifford back on track
After news broke that Ben Clifford had fractured his foot, Morrill wasn't sure he'd be able to contribute until December.
When he took the floor Tuesday night against Southern Utah, the Aggies' junior forward showed he's ahead of schedule in his recovery. While he looked a bit tender on his feet, Clifford managed to score on a pair of free throws in his return.
Kyle Davis has sealed up the starting position at power forward for now, but Morrill said he will look for Clifford to compete for more time as the team gets deeper into the season.
"He's going to have to earn minutes, but one thing you can be sure about Ben is he's going to try and earn them," he said. "He's going to do everything he can to be a factor. He'll have a role."
Aggies announce more signees
The Tribune reported Wednesday that the Aggies expected to add four more guards from outside of Utah in the 2014 class, and the team announced the additions officially on Thursday.
Utah State received signed letters of intent from Yuba College (Calif.) guard Chris Smith, Miami Dade College (Fla.) guard Darius Perkins, St. Andrew's School (R.I.) guard Henry Bolton, and McKinney North (Texas) guard Julion Pearre. All are expected to join the program next fall.
The Aggies' total number of signees this fall is six, including previously announced additions Sam Merrill, a Bountiful guard who will serve an LDS Church mission, and David Collette, who is returning from a mission.
Utah State at UCSB
P Saturday, 8 p.m.
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