Huge rematch for Pack in Logan
The Nevada Wolf Pack is well aware of what they’ll be facing Saturday night in Logan, Utah.
“It’s a crazy atmosphere,” Pack sophomore Dario Hunt said of the Utah State Aggies’ Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. “The fans are real hard on you there.”
“I can’t imagine any place as loud as it was there last year,” Pack sophomore Luke Babbitt said. “I expect it won’t be any different this year. The good thing is that most of us faced it last year. We know what to expect.”
The Pack expects to face the loudest and biggest crowd it will face all season when it takes the court against the Aggies at 7:05 p.m. (PT) on Saturday. A crowd of 10,023 greeted them last year in Logan and saw the home team win, 72-61.
“That’s one of the best basketball environments in the nation,” Pack senior Brandon Fields said. “There’s just total energy the whole time, whether they are down or up.”
The Aggies, who lead the Western Athletic Conference at 7-2 (17-6 overall), average 9,626 fans in the 10,270-seat Spectrum. They are 12-1 at home and have won seven in a row overall, including an impressive 90-62 victory over Idaho on Wednesday night.
“Because the environment is so much fun, I think our kids are looking forward to it,” Pack coach David Carter said. “The kids will be excited at first and we’ll have to make sure they calm down a bit.”
The Wolf Pack (13-8 overall, 5-3 in the WAC) has been waiting for this game ever since they blew a 10-point lead to the Aggies with seven minutes to play on Jan. 13 in a 79-72 overtime loss at Lawlor Events Center.
“If we want a chance to win the WAC, this is a must-win,” Babbitt said. “There’s no other way to put it. This is the most important game so far.”
The Wolf Pack missed 18 of its final 20 shots (0-for-8 in overtime) against the Aggies at Lawlor.
“I’m thinking payback this time,” Babbitt said. “I think everyone is. But we can’t get too emotional.”
“I’m always mad after a loss,” Hunt said. “But now we get a chance to go to their place and make it even.”
The loss to Utah State was easily the Pack’s most frustrating setback of the year.
“I feel like we gave that game away,” Fields said. “It’s kind of a grudge match.”
The Aggies are the top defensive team in the WAC, allowing just 59.8 points a game. They also lead the conference in shooting 3-pointers (.419 percent). The Aggies are led by 6-foot-7 forward Tai Wesley (13 points, 6.7 rebounds a game) and the 6-9 Nate Bendall (5.8 rebounds) inside. But they also have four players in the Top 12 in the WAC in shooting 3-pointers in Brian Green (.492 percent), Jared Quayle (.449), Pooh Williams (.413) and Tyler Newbold (.392).
“We can’t let their shooters get loose,” Carter said.
The Aggies also might be the deepest team in the league with 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes a game.
“They are a real smart team,” Pack junior Armon Johnson said. “They just have a great unit. At each position they have a player that is ideal for that position.”
The Aggies are also first in the WAC in assists (16.1 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).
“They’re not going to beat themselves,” Carter said. “You have to beat them.”
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El Dorado County got through the weekend with no virus-related deaths and more recoveries than new cases.