Balanced Utah State Attack Puts Nation On Notice After 9-0 Start

Dec 19, 2022, 10:56 AM

Utah State Men's Basketball...

(Courtesy of Utah State Athletics)

(Courtesy of Utah State Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah – Off to their best start since 1938-39, the Utah State Aggies are garnering national attention with a diverse & balanced attack, leading to a 9-0 record.

USU received ten votes in the most recent edition of the Associated Press Poll and four votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

In their only game of the week, the Aggies dismantled the Westminster Griffins 106-68 in the first ever meeting between the two programs.

“That’s our goal, to win every game that we play. It’s great, but at the same time, it leaves us with a hunger and desire to get more. We’re not satisfied with where we’re at,” Steven Ashworth said following the Aggies ninth win. “I think that’s the key. We can’t ever be satisfied because that’s when you get stagnant. That’s when you get complacent, That’s when you get beat on a night that you shouldn’t.”

One of just five remaining unbeaten teams nationwide, USU is one of two undefeated Mountain West teams. The New Mexico Lobos 11-0. No. 1 Purdue, No. 2 UConn & No. 15 Mississippi State are the other undefeated teams.

RELATED: Depth Showing Up As Injuries Hit Undefeated Utah State

Utah State Offense Leads The Way

USU’s 106 points is a season-high. It also marks the first time Utah State has hit the century mark in the Ryan Odom era.

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

The Aggies entered as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country; their performance against the Griffins did nothing to change that.

USU knocked down a school-record 21 threes. Their 37 attempts were a season-high & tied for the most three-point attempts in school history.

At 56.8 percent from deep, it also served as USU’s second-highest three-point shooting percentage this season. This was the sixth time Utah State made double digit threes this year, a feat they accomplished 11 times last season.

The Aggies finished with 25 assists against the Griffins, tying their season-high for the third time. This was the fifth time they finished with 20+ assists in a game.

Sophomore forward Zee Hamoda led the Aggies with 28 points off the bench against Westminster, but a balanced offensive attack has left defenses guessing on a nightly basis.

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

“For sure it is special but it’s nothing new,” Hamoda said after leading the Aggies in scoring for the first time. “It’s just my friends and coaches and teammates giving me the opportunity to play well. We all share the ball, which we’re a good team with assists, so that was just my part to play today.”

“Really happy for Zee,” Ashworth said of Hamoda’s performance. “He let the game come to him in the second half. HE found open looks. We definitely have the confidence in Zee to hit shots when he’s open and that’s what we were able to see tonight.”

Balanced Attack

Utah State had six players reach double-figure scoring against Westminster. It was the seventh-straight game that at least four players score 10+ points.

With an offense that can attack an opponents weakness due to their ability to score in all facets, opponents have been unable to slow the USU offense for long. Utah State’s depth affords Odom the luxury of mixing & matching lineups in a way that many other programs cannot effectively do while remaining competitive.

Six different Aggies have led the team in scoring this season with Ashworth’s 30 against Oral Roberts serving as the single-game high so far.

With a bench that features Ashworth, Hamoda and Dan Akin, Utah State has outscored their opponents off the bench 37.7 points per game to 18.3 points per game. A member of the bench unit has led USU in scoring six times this season.

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

Overall, USU finds themselves in the top-10 nationwide in 3-point field goal percentage (45.7, 1st), assists per game (20, 5th), scoring offense (88.2, 6th), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65, 5th) and 3-pointers made per game (11.9, 2nd).

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

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Balanced Utah State Attack Puts Nation On Notice After 9-0 Start