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Logan • Brady Jardine, Utah State's best player, could miss the season because of a foot injury that coach Stew Morrill termed "much worse than we originally thought."
Morgan Grim, the Aggies' best remaining big man, has an ankle issue and flu-like symptoms bad enough that he may not suit up for Tuesday night's game against Utah Valley University at the Spectrum.
The USU guards are turning the ball over at an alarming rate, while not handing out many assists to balance it out. To top it off, Morrill is making an impassioned plea for someone, anyone, to play with some toughness.
You get the picture. Utah State has reached a low point in a season that's not even a month old. These Aggies are young, inexperienced and in a bit of disarray because so much has gone wrong in such a short period of time.
"We need somebody to step up and get physical," Morrill said. "Right now, we're a fragile team. We aren't confident, and we need to find our place."
The Aggies' problems seem to have started with the season-opening win over BYU, which exploded into last week's student section sit-out controversy. On the court, USU is having major problems scoring points. Its defense, so good for so long, has been porous in stretches. Point guard Brockeith Pane has regressed since starring against the Cougars, and Morrill can't figure out who his small forward is going to be.
With a 3-4 record, the Aggies are under .500 for the first time since 2009, when they started 1-2. Of course, that season ended with a conference title and an NCAA berth. Not having Jardine, his athleticism and his rebounding has hurt, but his loss of leadership on the court is proving to be devastating.
Even worse for Aggie fans is the fact that Utah Valley comes into the Spectrum with a team fully capable of beating Utah State. Isiah Williams, the hot-scoring shooting guard, will be a challenge to contain. He forms a nice nucleus with former Woods Cross star Holton Hunsaker and former Bountiful star Ben Aird.
Utah Valley University at Utah State
P At the Spectrum, Logan
Tipoff • 7 p.m.
TV • KCSG
Radio • 97.5 FM
Records • Utah Valley University 5-4, Utah State 3-4
Series record • Utah State leads 6-0
Last meeting • Utah State 76, Utah Valley 58 (Dec. 18, 2010)
About the Utah Valley Wolverines • Isiah Williams leads the Wolverines with 15.1 points per game. … Geddes Robinson is the only other UVU player averaging double figures, at 11.6 ppg. … Holton Hunsaker leads UVU with 26 assists. … UVU recently defeated Northern Illinois.
About the Utah State Aggies • Senior center Morgan Grim is questionable, and freshman Jordan Stone will start if Grim can't play. … Brockeith Pane went 3 for 15 from the field in the loss to Pacific. … The Aggies have lost consecutive games for the first time since 2009. … Utah State is under .500 for the first time in two seasons.