Not-So-Rushed Reaction: Utah State 71, UC Santa Barbara 64

Posted by Andrew Murawa (@amurawa) on November 1st, 2013

Andrew Murawa is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after the Utah State vs. UC Santa Barbara game Saturday night.

Here are four quick thoughts on Utah State’s seven-point win at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night:

  1. It was a big disappointment that UCSB big man Alan Williams was a late scratch for Saturday night’s game following a bout of back spasms suffered in pregame warm-ups. Having averaged 24 points and 13 boards in his first two games this year, including a 21-point win over UNLV, Williams had six NBA scouts in attendance to see him go up against Utah State’s own big-time center in the long and athletic Jarred Shaw. Minus Williams the Gauchos got hammered on the boards, but still played well enough to keep it a game throughout. And, the good news is that UCSB will get another crack at the Aggies, next time hopefully with Williams, as the two schools will play again on December 20 in Logan as part of the Basketball Travelers Classic.

    Alan Williams Sat Out Saturday Night's Game Following An Ill-Timed Bout With Back Spasms (Ethan Miller, Getty Images)

    Alan Williams Sat Out Saturday Night’s Game Following An Ill-Timed Bout With Back Spasms (Ethan Miller, Getty Images)

  2. The Aggies got eight threes and a combined 34 points from senior wings Preston Medlin and Spencer Butterfield, and they certainly impressed with their versatility. Both are able to handle the ball well, defend on the perimeter, help out on the glass, and, of course, score. But despite a roster deep with passable ballhandlers, the UCSB press gave the Aggies trouble down the stretch. While there are a lot of skilled perimeter guys on this team, there remain questions about the point guard duo of TeNale Roland and Marcel Davis.
  3. But that depth mentioned above is one of the true strengths of this Utah State club. Aside from having three proven scorers in Shaw, Butterfield and Medlin, and those two point guards, they’ve also got a legitimate 10-man rotation with little drop-off. Sophomore Kyle Davis has emerged as a versatile defensive presence for the Aggies, junior Jordan Stone brings a skilled 6’10” frame off the bench, and junior forward Ben Clifford is back early from a broken foot suffered back in September. And freshman Jalen Moore, aside from having some of the best hair in the nation, is a long athlete on the wing who could turn into a terrific defender. This team is going to cause trouble in the Mountain West.
  4. Despite the loss, if the Gauchos get Williams back at 100 percent, they’re pretty good; that win over UNLV was no fluke. Senior guard Kyle Boswell has long been regarded as “just a shooter” – and he is real good there, having hit better than 43 percent of his attempts from deep on his career – but he’s developed into a complete player at this point. He’s now got enough of a game off the bounce to keep defenders honest and is handing out assists on nearly a quarter of all his possessions, although that’s probably a pace he won’t keep up. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Michael Bryson has also come out of the gates hot, averaging 12.3 points per game and showing a good combination of fantastic athleticism attacking the hoop and a tight jumper. Throw in a pair of good newcomers who are floor general types in junior college transfer Zalmico Harmon and freshman Eric Childress and the Gauchos are not a team to be trifled with.
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