Pack not psyched out by loss to Aggies
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
Utah State coach Stew Morrill said he doesn't believe his team has a psychological advantage over Nevada, stemming from Saturday's 14-point win in Logan, Utah.
The Aggies and Nevada will play at Lawlor Events Center on Monday in a make-up game after their first meeting was postponed in January.
"I don't think it's a big factor," Morrill said during Monday's Western Athletic Conference teleconference. "We have two games before we play them. It might help a little bit in preparation."
"They [the players] have a lot more resilience than coaches," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "We have two games before we play Utah State again."
Since they both play on Saturday, both teams will only have one day to prepare for each other. Nevada has an ESPN2-televised game at home against Hawaii, beginning at 3:05 p.m., while Utah State is at home against San Jose State. The Aggies must use part of the off-day to drive to Salt Lake and fly to Reno.
One thing is certain, Nevada will have to get more production from its front line and must play better team defense than it did Saturday.
CARROLL THE BEST?
We're at the midseason point in conference play and a few coaches weighed in on the race for the WAC Player of the Year.
Utah State's Jaycee Carroll was the preseason pick, and he currently leads the team in scoring, though there are certainly other talented players to be considered, including Nevada's Marcelus Kemp, New Mexico State's Justin Hawkins and Boise State's Reggie Larry.
"At this point, I'd have to go with Jaycee," BSU coach Greg Graham said. "He's having a great senior year."
Morrill said that the player of the year should come from the regular-season winner.
"I don't really get into that stuff until the end of the year," Morrill said. "Whoever wins the regular season should have the player of the year. If it's Nevada, then probably Kemp. If it's New Mexico State, there is obviously Hawkins. Boise State has a couple of players [Larry and Matt Nelson]."
Added Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland: "Look at the top teams. Reggie Larry is having a great year and so has Jaycee. Marcelus and Justin are two guys that jump off the page.
HAWAII ON THE ROAD
Hawaii has always had trouble winning on the road in conference play, mostly because of the travel problems. Every trip is a long one.
The Rainbow Warriors are 5-3 in conference, including a 2-2 league mark away from home.
Bob Nash, Hawaii's first-year head coach, said that he doesn't work the players as hard between games.
"We don't go as long [in practices]," he said. "Coach [Riley] Wallace sometimes would keep them out there a long time until he was happy with what he was seeing."
Nash said that they are doing a lot more film study in between games this season, too.
Hawaii has been fielding a small lineup all season, and it just got smaller when P.J. Owsley suffered an injury last week, which may cause him to miss Saturday's game against Nevada.
"It's not a career- or season-ending injury," Nash said. "It's a kneecap dislocation. It's a condition he's had in the past."
Nash said an MRI was scheduled for Monday and that Owsley could miss the Nevada game, but would be back for Utah State the following week.
BSU SWEEPS AWARDS
Boise State players Reggie Larry and Tasha Harris were named the WAC men's and women's players of the week, respectively.
Larry, a senior, scored a career-high 27 points in a 90-89 overtime win over Fresno State last week. He also pulled down 16 rebounds in that game. He added 21 points and nine rebounds in a win over Idaho.
Harris led the Broncos to three wins last week, scoring 52 points, including 24 in an upset win over Fresno State.
O'NEIL TO RETURN
Fresno State's Dwight O'Neil (wrist injury) is expected to return to action this week, according to coach Steve Cleveland.
"He'll play some against Utah State," Cleveland said. "He's was practicing the last couple of days without real contact."
Cleveland expects that O'Neil will have to wear a brace for a while. His addition will at least help the Bulldogs in terms of depth.
Ramon Sessions was called up by the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, but broke his left hand during his first practice session with the team.
Sessions, who had been playing for the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League, will be out for about six weeks.
SPETMAN LEAVES AGGIES
Randy Spetman has been named the athletic director at Florida State. Spetman had been the AD for Utah State.
"I'm very happy for Randy," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. "It's a tremendous opportunity for him and a big loss for Utah State. From a personal and professional standpoint, Randy was one of my closest colleagues. He was one of my best friends in the business."
• Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281