GREENSBORO, N.C. — Junior Tony Brown is such a throwback, says Utah State coach Stew Morrill, that teammates "call him Jerry West." He's not that good, Morrill said, but, "He has a good feel for the game." Morrill calls Brown a coach in a player's uniform.
Brown, 6-foot-3, used one of the book's oldest tricks to extend the most-successful two-year stint in Aggie history Thursday afternoon when he threw pump fake after pump fake at Ohio State shot-blocking monster Ken Johnson, then finally threw an eight-foot shot over him to send the NCAA Tournament game into overtime. USU won 77-68.
"Once I got into the lane, if I pump-faked enough, I could shoot it over him," said Brown.
"He pump-faked a couple of times, and I went for the fake," said 6-11 Johnson, the No. 5 shot-blocker in NCAA history with 444. "He made a very difficult shot."
USU outscored OSU 17-8 in the overtime for the school's first NCAA win in 10 tries, since 1970. They play UCLA in Round 2 on Saturday afternoon in Greensboro Coliseum.
After Morrill called time with :08.8 left in regulation and the Ags trailing 60-58, the plan was to get the ball to Bernard Rock. Brown got the ball, thought about a long shot but drove the lane, then looked for a post player. Finding none, he pulled his head-bobble routine and shot before some official might call him for three seconds. "I didn't really have a choice," he said.
NUMBER CHANGE: Shawn Daniels will keep wearing No. 42 if the Aggies are the visitors Saturday against UCLA. If they're the home team, he'll wear his white No. 5. When Daniels opened his travel bag, his blue No. 5 jersey was missing, so the Ags had a new one made in Logan and put it on a Wednesday-night flight, which was canceled by weather. The continuation flight to Greensboro Thursday from Cincinnati — ironically, in Ohio; hmmm — arrived without the shirt. The No. 42 jersey was the only one available, so Daniels wore it, and the Aggies won their first NCAA game in 31 years. It's lucky now, so he'll stick with it if USU goes blue Saturday.
ON GUARD: Brown and Rock were 2-for-14 for five points in the 2000 NCAA Tournament loss to Connecticut. Thursday, they combined for 13-for-20 shooting and 35 points . . . OSU's 48.1 field-goal percentage was fourth-best against USU this season . . . A 12 seed like the Ags has now won a first-round game against a five-seed in 11 of the last 13 NCAA tourneys . . . Five 3-pointers Thursday gave USU 196 for the season, breaking the school record of 194 set last season . . . It was USU's first overtime win in three tries this season . . . Dion Bailey had a game-high four steals.