The Aggies showed some strides while beating up the Grizzlies, particularly on defense. While Stew Morrill unloaded criticism after last week's 108-88 game against Central Methodist, he was more gentle after the latest tuneup at the Spectrum.
The Aggies held Adams State to 31.7 percent shooting and only 31.3 percent from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies got to the line 28 times but made only 12 of those attempts. If not for a late run, Utah State could've won more convincingly.
"We worked a lot on defense as far as technique and the right spots to be," forward Danny Berger said. "It showed in the game tonight."
A week of defensive-focused practice did pay off. And when the lead soared, the Aggies had their fun on the other end. Berger was a perfect 4 for 4 from 3-point range in a 15-point night, and Shaw and Jordan Stone dominated the paint, helping USU to a 51-36 edge in rebounding. Freshman Jalen Moore, playing with a mask after breaking his nose earlier in the week, chipped in 10 points.
The highlight, however, had to be a second-half dunk by Kyle Davis that sent a helpless Adams State defender sprawling on the court the game in a nutshell.
"It was pretty nasty," a grinning Berger said afterward.
But such a dominating performance begs for perspective, which the Aggies kept intact. The Division II Grizzlies are small potatoes compared to the team Utah State hosts next week: the USC Trojans.
The team's urgency this last week was reassuring, Morrill said.
"Obviously we defended better, so we've made a little progress hopefully this past week," he said. "Guys are understanding how important it is hopefully."
Utah State 86,Adams State 55
O The Aggies hold Adams State to 31.7 percent shooting.
• Jarred Shaw leads with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
• Danny Berger adds 15 points, going 4 for 4 from 3-point range.