Team Profile: 2008 Bracket Buster Recap: Utah State 72, UC Santa Barbara 59
A game that was billed as a battle of two premier senior guards didn’t really turn out that way. Both Alex Harris of UCSB and Jaycee Carroll of Utah State struggled the majority of the night. They still got their points, 20 and 15 respectively, but they shot a combined 13 for 36 from the field and never really got in sync.The first half was riddled with Utah State turnovers, as the Aggies committed errant pass after errant pass to allow the Gauchos to stay in the game. Despite their 11 first half turnovers, USU still went into the locker room with a four-point advantage.
The Gauchos just couldn’t find a way to stop the Aggies underneath. They had no answer for Tai Wesley, a 6’6” freshman forward, or Gary Wilkinson, a 6’9” junior forward. Wesley led the way for Utah State with 24 points and nine rebounds while Wilkinson finished with 14 and 12. When they Aggies got the ball on the low block they scored as the two forwards shot a combined 73-percent.
Alex Harris wasn’t the only one who struggled for UC Santa Barbara as the Gauchos just never found their comfort zone at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. For the night they shot 34-percent from the floor. Sophomore guard James Powell had the best night for the Gauchos and did his best to keep them in the game as he knocked down six three pointers en route to 20 points.
This sloppy game really didn’t do much for either team’s NCAA Tourney hopes. Both teams look to be bound for the NIT if they do not win their conference tournament. It would mark the ninth straight postseason appearance for the Aggies (5 NCAA, 3 NIT). For the Gauchos it would be their first postseason appearance since 2003, when they lost to San Diego State in the first round of the NIT.