The Utah State Aggies set the tone for the World Vision Basketball Invitational with an opening-night victory over the Bengals of Idaho State. USU won by a score of 71-48, as the Aggies got their physically-demanding three-day stretch of games started off on the right foot.”It was a good start to the tournament,” Aggie head coach Stew Morrill said after the game. “We’ll sleep fast, and away we go again.”USU’s depth played a crucial role in the win. The Aggie bench had the starter’s collective back, as they scored a whopping 40 points. The quality play of the USU bench players allowed Coach Morrill to give his starting five some much-needed rest.”I thought our bench production was good. It’s nice to have guys like Brady (Jardine) and Brian (Green) coming off the bench and giving us energy and production,” Morrill said. “Both of those guys had good games.”The majority of these back-up buckets came from Brian Green and Brady Jardine. Green led the way for the Aggies, making 5-7 shots from behind the three-point line to reach a total of 17 points. The fiery team leader was instrumental in building a first-half lead, as he scored 14 of his points in the first 20 minutes.”We were playing unselfishly, and I was just hitting open shots,” said Green. “The shot felt good… It was nice to make some.”Jardine was able to provide USU with some energy, in addition to giving Nate Bendall and Tai Wesley some rest. He was one point short of a double-double, putting up nine points and 10 rebounds in a productive 22 minutes. The athletic post player was also a defensive force, snatching three steals on the night.Idaho State was guided by Broderick Gilchrest, who scored a game-high 19 points on 8-16 shooting. The Bengals were able to shoot the ball relatively well, as they ended up going 47% from the field. However, the Aggies were able to win by a large margin because of the way that they forced Idaho State to go deep into the shot-clock on most possessions. USU also pressured ISU into some mistakes. The Bengals committed 16 turnovers, which lead to numerous Aggie buckets.USU will now have a short day of rest and preparation for Western Michigan, who came up just short of Troy in the early game, losing by a score of 102-99. Tip-off is scheduled to take place in the Dee Glenn Smith Spectrum at 8 p.m. Wednesday night.
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