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Aggies take on Weber State and sharpshooting Jeremy Senglin


LOGAN — While it's referred to as "the most wonderful time of the year" by most of the country, Utah State head coach Tim Duryea says this time of the year is anything but for his student-athletes.

"The holidays and Christmas break, all those things factor into a basketball game. It’s the toughest time of the year for Division I basketball players," Duryea noted. "All of your friends are going home, and you know they are going to be there for a month. And you know you are grinding it out, getting a three-day break and coming back to practice Christmas night.

"Mentally, your group has to be mature and tough. Hopefully we’re learning.”

After going eight days in between games as they focused on finals, the Aggies (6-4) have just one day off following Monday's win over New Orleans before facing their next big test Wednesday night at the Spectrum. The Weber State Wildcats (4-6) are coming to Cache Valley following an impressive, 93-85 victory over Utah Valley last Saturday at the Dee Events Center.

"They're a typical Weber State team," Duryea said. "They're physical, they can score it at the block, and their last game they shot the ball really well — by far their best offensive game of the year."

Of primary concern for Duryea and the Aggies is Jeremy Senglin. The senior guard was named Big Sky Men's Basketball Player of the Week after hitting on 6 of 9 3-point attempts on his way to a game-high 27 points in the win over the Wolverines.

Senglin is currently fifth in the Big Sky in scoring (18.7 ppg) and leads the conference and is fourth in the nation in 3-pointers per game at 4.0.

"Senglin, (Dusty) Baker, (Ryan) Richardson — those guys can all shoot it," Duryea said of the Cats. "And Zach (Braxton) has improved at the low block. He's much improved over last year.

"They give you problems all over the floor defensively because they make you decide how you're going to guard the post, and then they can shoot it from the 3. So, we've got to have our most solid defensive game probably since Cancun to compete."

Of course, the Aggies and Wildcats are extremely familiar with each other. Not only have the two schools faced off 68 times — with USU holding a 42-26 advantage — but Duryea and Weber State head coach Randy Rahe coached together on Stew Morrill's staff at Utah State.

Rahe, who was instrumental in Duryea getting a job at USU in 2002, suffered a 73-70 loss at the hands of the Aggies in 2015 — which served as Duryea's first win as a Division I head coach. The Wildcats also lost in their last visit to the Spectrum, falling 72-61 in 2014 after leading by 18 points at halftime.