LOGAN – Jalen Moore scored 17 points and David Collette added another 14 in Utah State’s Saturday night 75-63 victory over Wayland Baptist. Despite the outcome, USU head coach Stew Morrill was not pleased with his team’s effort.
“We need more guys talking,” he said. “We need more enthusiasm.”
Morrill said despite Wayland Baptist being a one-loss NAIA nationally-ranked team, his team played flat.
“I have no magic wand to make them play with some emotion and some fire and whatever you want to call it,” he said. “That has to come from within them.”
The Aggies never trailed, but for much of the game Wayland Baptist kept it close. The teams were tied at 17 with less than eight minutes remaining in the first half when the Aggies temporarily broke away on an 11-1 run. It started when senior Sean Harris hit a 10-foot jumper and got the ball back off a block the following defensive play. Sophomore guard Jojo McGlaston then sunk a 3-pointer to give Aggies a 22-17 lead. Harris finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“We need more guys playing like Sean Harris,” Morrill said. “We need more guys playing with that kind of emotion, and that kind of effort and that kind of heart.”
“(Harris) fueled the fire tonight,” Moore said. “He came in and played really hard and gave us energy to be able to execute on offense. He stepped it up defensively and rebounded for us.”
After Utah State’s first-half run, they led by 11 with 1:28 left in the half, but the Pioneers scored the last five points of the period. The Aggie lead was cut to three points twice in the second half, but that was as close as they let it get. An 8-0 run midway through the second half gave them a 15-point lead and helped secure the win.
“I think everybody was a little bit rusty and (Wayland Baptist) came ready to play,” Moore said. “Give them credit. They rebounded hard, they played hard. They probably played harder than we did most of the game until a little bit at the end when we started making shots and going on runs.”
USU’s next game will be December 31 when the Aggies host San Jose State in the conference opener. Moore said the team will need to keep playing solid defense and start executing better on offense if they want to compete against conference opponents.
“We have a lot to work on,” Moore said. “We’ve still got to work on rebounds. Teams are way athletic in the Mountain West.”