The Utah State Aggies fought hard but came up short at the Marriott Center Wednesday night, as the BYU Cougars prevailed by a score of 78-72. It was a disappointing end-result for the men in blue, but the Aggies gave a valiant effort in the loss.”It was a tough one to lose,” Aggie head coach Stew Morrill said following the game. “Those in-state games are always tough to lose when you come on the road… It was a good game and a good atmosphere, but the bad guys won.”It was a tight game from the tip-off until the final whistle, but BYU was able to come out on top due to the strong play of their perimeter players. BYU’s three starting guards, Jimmer Freddette, Charles Abouo, and Jackson Emery, had 26, 13, and 10 points respectively. The Aggies were able to out-shoot the Cougars from the field, as the Aggies shot 48% to BYU’s 38%. However, BYU was able to score more points due to the sheer amounts of shots that they put up. The Cougars attempted 62 field goals to the Aggies 52, as well as out-rebounding USU by a small margin of 40-37.The Aggies biggest shortcoming was free-throw shooting. USU was 15-26 from the charity-stripe, for an uncharacteristic 57.7%. Coach Morrill was not pleased with the points that the Aggies left out on the court.”If we make a few free throws, it might have been a different story,” said Morrill. “We struggled at the line.”The Aggies were lead by senior forward Tai Wesley. The Provo native, who played in his hometown for the first time in his career, was able to score 19 points and grab eight rebounds in just 25 minutes. Wesley’s time on the court was limited due to the fact that he spent most of the game in foul trouble. The fiery team-leader was saddled with two fouls in the first three minutes of the game, and had to play in short stretches before picking up his fifth and final foul with 2:05 left on the clock. Wesley was whistled for an intentional foul after grabbing a rebound and supposedly elbowing a Cougar defender.”They said that is the new rule; they said I gotta keep my elbows in,” Wesley responded when asked what explanation he had received from the officiating crew. “I thought I did. I thought I tucked them, but apparently not.”USU senior guard Brian Green had an outstanding game coming off the bench, scoring 17 points on 6-7 shooting, including 5-6 from three-point land. Coach Morrill was happy with the play that he received from Green.”He (Green) was great,” Morrill said. “He was fired up, like he always is. He came in firing. He can really shoot the ball. He had just a little bit of daylight, and if he gets a little bit of daylight he is going to have a chance to knock it down. He played great.”Although the Aggies were not able to pull out the victory, they gave a courageous battle. USU played good as a team, with four players reaching double digits in scoring. Aside from Wesley and Green, Pooh Williams and Brady Jardine each had 10 points apiece.Defensively, USU played pretty solidly. Through the defense of Williams, Brockieth Pane, and especially Tyler Newbold, the Aggies were able to somewhat limit the scoring of Cougar star Jimmer Freddette. Although Freddette did score a game-high 26 points, it did take him a large number of shot attempts. He went 8-21 from the field, and was also forced into three turnovers.USU will look to bounce back from the tough loss, as they prepare for another in-state rivalry game on the road. The Aggies will take on the Thunderbirds of SUU on Saturday night in Cedar City. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM.
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