SACRAMENTO (ABC4 Sports) – The Aggies are fully aware of the streak.
They know the last time Utah State won an NCAA Tournament game was back in 2001 against Ohio State. They’ve heard the rumblings for years. Now, they want to end all the talk with a win over Missouri Thursday in Sacramento.
“I’ve heard it a lot for sure,” said guard RJ Eytle-Rock. “We’re definitely trying to get this first win for ourselves and for the university.
Steven Ashworth was barely alive 22 years ago when the Aggies last won in the Big Dance.
“Yeah, I was just starting as a wee pup,” Ashworth said. “I had no impact on those teams. I was a part of one team where we didn’t get accomplished what we wanted to in last year.”
This year’s team has talked about playing not just for themselves, but for all the other Utah State teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament but could not get a victory, a streak that has lasted nine games.
“We’ve been talking about it all year that we’ve been playing for a legacy,” said center Trevin Dorius. “That’s past players, future players, and we’re trying to remind the country what we’re here for.”
“Play with no pressure,” said forward Taylor Funk. “Just go out and have fun like another game all season. We’re prepared to win, and that’s what we’ve been doing this year. We want to carry that on.”
If the Aggies are on their game, they are tough to beat. Utah State is fifth in the nation in 3-point shooting at 39 percent, and they are one of just 15 teams that have five players average in double figures.
“That’s an element of our game that we take a lot of pride in,” said Ashworth about the Aggies’ three-point shooting ability. “Being able to shoot the three ball, and then just the trust that we have in every single guy on the court.”
“We really don’t care who scores, we just want to score,” said Funk. “We don’t worry about the stat sheet. We just want to make sure we have more points than the other team at the end of the night.”
The Aggies are a nightmare for opposing teams to defend because of their depth and versatility.
“It makes us confident knowing that they can’t key in on one guy,” said forward Dan Akin. “We have five guys, so every game a different guy could go off which makes us so dangerous.”