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Utah State men's basketball: Brian Green's shooting propels Aggies past Idaho

Utah State forward Brady Jardine, left, reaches around to steal the ball from Idaho guard Steffan Johnson.
Utah State forward Brady Jardine, left, reaches around to steal the ball from Idaho guard Steffan Johnson.
Eli Lucero, Associated Press

LOGAN — Brian Green is — very generously — listed at 6-foot-1 in the Utah State media guide. He's probably closer to 5-11.

It might be for that reason opponents don't pay much attention to him and often leave him alone when the Aggies have the ball and pay a lot more attention to guys like Tai Wesley, Nate Bendall and Jared Quayle.

They might want to consider abandoning that futile defensive strategy — especially after the junior from Davis High put on another shooting clinic in sparking Utah State to a dominating 80-62 win over Idaho Wednesday night.

"We're an unselfish team," Green said. "The way the offense works we can all have a good night."

Wednesday night on ESPN2, it was Green who stepped up.

"He's on a roll," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "It's great. He comes off the bench and he's instant offense."

The win keeps Utah State in first place in the WAC with a 7-2 record and bumps the Aggies to 17-6 overall with seven straight wins.

Idaho saw its modest two-game win streak come to an end and fell to 10-11 overall and 2-7 in the WAC.

Utah State's sparkplug off the bench finished with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting and drilled all four of his 3-point attempts.

Green had a perfect first half — scoring 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting and drilling a pair of wide-open 3-pointers. He also dropped a pair of free throws and made two big steals during a 22-2 run that saw a close game turn into a first-half blowout.

"I'm just confident," Green said. "I've got a lot of confidence right now. I'm getting a lot of open shots and I'm hitting them."

So is the rest of the team.

The Aggies shot a blistering 68.2 percent in the first half, hitting 5 of 7 3-pointers and limiting the Vandals to just 36 percent from the floor.

Utah State's offensive explosion came despite some seriously whistle-happy referees who had Wesley and Bendall sitting for most of the half with a pair of fouls while Brady Jardine was called for three fouls off the bench.

As if playing Utah State in the Spectrum wasn't a tough enough challenge, the Vandals had to do it with their leader and top scorer Mac Hopson sitting on the sideline wearing his team sweats.

With Hopson out of the Idaho lineup, USU guards Quayle and Pooh Williams had a much less daunting task and made the Vandals pay.

Idaho, though shorthanded, refused to die easily. The Vandals made a nice little run early in the second half and closed the gap to 52-37 with 12 minutes to play before the Aggies gathered themselves and slowly extended their lead as Green continued his hot shooting.

Green entered the game shooting an amazing 68.2 percent from 3-point range in eight WAC games and 64 percent overall.

And after his shooting performance Wednesday night on ESPN2, maybe the scouting report will finally get out.

But until then, Green remains the hottest shooter in the WAC and a strong candidate for sixth man of the year — no matter what his height really is.

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