Depth Showing Up As Injuries Hit Undefeated Utah State

Dec 16, 2022, 5:38 PM

Steven Ashworth - Utah State Aggies...

Utah State guard Steven Ashworth (Courtesy of USU Athletics)

(Courtesy of USU Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah – With injuries rearing their ugly yet inevitable head for the 9-0 Utah State Aggies, USU’s depth has already proven its worth.

With 40 percent of their starting lineup unavailable, the Aggies didn’t flinch against in-state opponent Westminster College.

Starting point guard Rylan Jones has missed the last three games after getting hit in the head and neck area after playing just four minutes against Utah Tech. Power forward Taylor Funk missed the win over Westminster with an ankle injury. Funk had started the previous eight games for USU.

“We haven’t really played the lineup that we started out there much since the scrimmages,” head coach Ryan Odom said of the group that started against Westminster in Thursday night. “That was the lineup that we started in the two closed scrimmages and it fared well in those two outings.”

RELATED: 67-Point Second Half Gives Utah State Blowout Win Over Westminster

Steven Ashworth Takes The Reigns

Jones’, a University of Utah transfer in his second season in Logan, stats that jump off of the page at 4.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. The loss of the senior guard’s leadership and ball security could have torpedoed an otherwise promising start.

In stepped junior point guard Steven Ashworth.

A backup in name only, Ashworth was familiar with the ask after stepping in for Jones at times last season,.

“I had a few games last year where that did end up happening with Rylan going out for a few games and me being our only other point guard. The good thing about this team is that every guard has improved their handle. I think that we’re a little more versatile this year. It wasn’t that much pressure once it happened.”

The move from sixth man to starter hasn’t been without issue.

RELATED: Utah State Erases Double-Digit Deficit Against LMU, Improve To 8-0

Before taking over as the starter, Ashworth had made four or more threes in a game four times. He made  8-of-9 from long range on his way to 30 points against Oral Roberts. In his next game against Utah Tech, Ashworth finished 7-of-12 from deep, scoring another 27 points in the win.

Prior to entering the starting lineup, Ashworth averaged eight three point attempts per game, cashing in at a 43.8 percent rate. Since, he is attempting just six threes per game but has made 50 percent of his attempts as a starter. Ashworth is averaging four assists per game as a starter and 5.2 off the bench.

At 18.4 points per game, Ashworth leads the Mountain West in scoring.

Dan Akin Brings The Funk

Just behind Ashworth is Taylor Funk, averaging 16.3 points per game in his first season with USU after transferring as a graduate senior from Saint Josephs. Funk is the Mountain West’s second leading rebounder, averaging 8.8 boards per game. He and Ashworth are first and second in the MW, shooting 46.4 percent for Funk and 54.5 percent for Ashworth from beyond the three point line.

Funk had started the first eight games of the season for Utah State.

RELATED: Balanced Utah State Weathers San Francisco Rally, Move To 7-0

With out Funk, graduate senior forward Dan Akin stepped into the starting power forward position.

Despite finishing with just two rebounds in 29 minutes against the Griffins, Akin was able to contribute 10 points to the win.

The uber-athletic forward has scored double-figures in eight of nine games this season. He is tied with Max Shulga and Taylor Funk for the team lead with two double-doubles this year. He also tied his season-high with two blocks.

No word yet if Funk or Jones will be able to return in the Aggies next game against Weber State.

Up Next

Utah State will welcome in the Weber State Wildcats (3-7) on Monday, December 19. Tipoff for this game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST).

Every Utah State basketball game can be heard on the KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard on the call.

Coverage of Utah State University Athletics from KSL Sports can be found here. 

  • Utah State Aggies Scoreboard

  • Utah State Aggies Team Leaders

  • Utah State Aggies Standings

Utah State Aggies


Kyle Ireland

ESPN: Former Utah State Forward Great Osobor Commits To Washington

Former Utah State forward Great Osobor followed Danny Sprinkle to Seattle by committing to Washington, according to ESPN.

6 days ago

Isaac Davis, Utah State Basketball...

Mitch Harper

Former BYU Signee Isaac Davis Flips To Utah State Basketball

Isaac Davis from Hillcrest High in Idaho will begin his college career with the Aggies.

10 days ago


Kyle Ireland

Panthers WR Siaosi Mariners Hauls In Touchdown Catch Against Renegades

Former Utah and USU wide receiver Siaosi Mariner hauled in a touchdown reception during Week 6 of the 2024 United Football League season.

14 days ago

Stew Morrill Court Utah State Aggies women's basketball Wesley Brooks...

Brian Preece

Utah State Basketball Bolsters Guardline With Second In-State WAC Transfer

USU attacked the transfer portal and added another prize when former Southern Utah freshman Braden Housley committed to becoming an Aggie.

19 days ago

Dee Glen Smith Spectrum...

Brian Preece

Sophomore Forward Tucker Anderson Commits To Utah State Men’s Basketball

Former McDonald's All-American nominee Tucker Anderson will be taking his basketball talents to Utah State University for 2024-25.

19 days ago


Chandler Holt

Utah State WR Terrell Vaughn Receives Camp Invite From Seattle Seahawks

Utah State Aggies wide receiver Terrell Vaughn received an invite to the Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp on Tuesday.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Depth Showing Up As Injuries Hit Undefeated Utah State