Without Rylan Jones Healthy, Aggies Ceiling Remains Limited

Jan 18, 2023, 9:51 PM | Updated: Jan 21, 2023, 3:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY –  A simple glance at the box score doesn’t paint a full picture of what senior point guard Rylan Jones provides for Ryan Odom’s Utah State team.

Utah State has been without Jones since taking a hit in loss at Boise State on  January 7. He has been in concussion protocol since that day.

Jones missed three games earlier this season for a similar injury after sustaining a hit against Utah Tech on December 1.

Averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 assists per game this year, Jones’ impact extends beyond the stat sheet.

“Rylan brings so much consistency and stability to the Aggies. That is so tough to replicate,” Aggie play-by-play voice Scott Garrard said of the senior point guard.

“He always seems to make the right play at the right time. Replacing his experience will be very difficult if he remains out for a significant amount of time.”

RELATED: Road Woes, Late Game Execution Remain Question Marks For Utah State

Bench Suffers With Steven Ashworth Starting

Junior point guard Steven Ashworth has been great for the Aggies this season. The guard from Alpine, UT leads USU in scoring per game (15.5), is second in assists per game (4.4).

In nine starts, Ashworth averages a respectable 14.3 points and 4.6 assists per game. Through ten games off the bench, Ashworth’s scoring jumps to 16.6 points per game while his assist number drops to 4.2.

But beyond Ashworth’s own numbers, the Aggie second unit sees a serious drop-off in potency with Ashworth in the starting five.

Overall, USU averages 29.4 points per game off the bench, good for 19th in the nation.

In Ashworth’s nine starts, that number craters to 21.7 points per game off the bench. Throw out a 45 point bench effort against Westminster and that average falls even further, 18.8, which would tie Utah State with Hofstra as the 211th worst scoring bench in the country.

Shallow Bench, Big Minutes

An Aggie bench that looked like a strength early in the season was nearly unrecognizable on Tuesday night against UNLV. Along with Jones remaining out, Odom had to make up for the loss of his third most consistent player off the bench, Zee Hamoda, because of an illness.

“From a ball security stand point, Rylan is awesome,” Odom said following a 21-turnover performance against the Rebels. “Certainly it would have been helpful to have one more ball-handler out there.”

RELATED: Cardiac Kids: Utah State Completes Thrilling Win Over UNLV

“Rylan’s injury, coupled with USU having two scholarship players redshirting this season, has created depth challenges for this team at times during conference play, Garrard said of the short bench.

Without Hamoda or Jones, Odom was forced to play RJ Eytle-Rock 17 minutes and backup big man Szymon Zapala ended up playing three minutes as the Aggies used an eight man rotation to beat the Rebels.

Not having Jones for 20+ minutes a night has forced Ashworth to play big minutes. Averaging a cool 30 minutes per game with Jones healthy, Ashworth has played a team-high 34.7 minutes per game, including a 39 minute performance against UNLV.

For a guy listed at 6’1 and 170 pounds, that kind of a workload will eventually take its toll.

Without a third true point guard on the roster, Odom is limited in his options.

“Steven can be out of the game and you still have a point guard in there,” Odom said of Jones. “Rylan is really good at playing against pressure defense. It would always be helpful to have him.”

Up Next

The Aggies will face the San Jose State Spartans (12-6, 3-2) on Saturday, January 21. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. (MST) matinee.

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

Utah State’s Max Shulga Responds To Colorado State’s Chant, Apology

Utah State's Max Shulga issued a response following Colorado State's apology for a negative chant directed at him.
3 days ago
Kyle Ireland

Colorado State Apologizes After Negative Chant Toward Utah State’s Max Shulga

Colorado State issued an apology after the its student section chanted "Russia' at USU's Max Shulga during a game between the Aggies and Rams.
3 days ago
Steven Ashworth - Utah State Aggies...
Brian Preece

12 Second Half Threes Lead Utah State Over Colorado State

It was raining in Fort Collins as Utah State made 12 second-half threes on their way to an 88-79 road win against Colorado State.
4 days ago
Brian Preece

Utah State Gymnastics Come Up Short On Final Rotation, Fall At Boise State

Utah State took a slim lead into the final rotation but couldn't hold on, falling 196.325-195.675 against Boise State.
4 days ago
Brian Preece

Utah State Looks For Third Consecutive W, Second Straight On Road

Back-to-back double-figure wins have Utah State's men's basketball team riding a high note as they look to get hot down the stretch.
4 days ago
Chandler Holt

Utah State Beats New Mexico In Convincing Fashion

Utah State Aggies Men's Basketball, 17-5, took on the New Mexico Lobos, 19-3, in the Smith Spectrum on Wednesday.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
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

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Without Rylan Jones Healthy, Aggies Ceiling Remains Limited