When it comes to rivalries, there is one that sticks out in Aggie fans’ minds — no matter the sport.
On the hardwood, that same rival also happens to be the most-played opponent in school history. Utah State (4-1) was supposed to take on BYU (5-3) this evening in Provo. The 229th meeting between the Aggies and Cougars is up in the air.
The two schools were scheduled to tip off at 7 o’clock at the Marriott Center.
However, Aggie forward Danny Berger collapsed during a practice at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Tuesday afternoon. The junior was revived, taken to Logan Regional Hospital and flown by helicopter to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. Late Tuesday night his status was listed as stable but critical.
USU was scheduled to bus to Provo Tuesday evening in preparation for the game. The Aggies never left Logan after Berger collapsed.
There was no official word late Tuesday night on the status of the game, but several sources told The Herald Journal it would be highly unlikely. Should the game be called off, it may not happen at all this season.
Earlier in the day, USU head coach Stew Morrill had talked about playing the Cougars.
“In the 15 years I’ve been at Utah State, we’ve had an interesting series with us winning in Provo one time and them winning in Logan one time,” Morrill said. “When you go to the other team’s home court, you’re a decided underdog.
“With that being said, we’re excited about the opportunity to see where we’re at. I stress that we don’t know quite where we’re at. We have times where things happen that are really encouraging, and then we have times where you’re just like, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’ You can look at each one of our games and kind of make that generalization.”
Like the start of the last game. USU fell behind at Santa Clara 19-4 to start the game. The Aggies did claw back and won in overtime, 80-78.
The veteran Aggie coach does know a slow start against BYU will most likely turn into a loss.
“BYU had one game they were up 33-2,” Morrill said. “So our last game combined with what they did with one of their ballgames at home, we better make sure we don’t get started like that or it will be a long night.”
The Cougars have played a challenging schedule with losses coming against Florida State, Notre Dame and Iowa State. Those three setbacks have been on the road or at a neutral site.
BYU head coach Dave Rose has been impressed with the Aggies so far.
“They (Aggies) picked up a great win at Santa Clara,” Rose said. “This Aggie team is greatly improved. Their post play has improved. ... (Jarred) Shaw is tough, and (Preston) Medlin is really good.”
Shaw, who drew praise from Morrill on Tuesday, leads USU in scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg). Medlin is averaging 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game.
The Aggies rank fourth nationally in rebounding advantage at plus 13.6.
“They are not only good offensively, but defensively,” Rose said of the Aggies. “They are an athletic and disciplined. Utah State is a really tough team. It will be a grind.
“It’s going to be a big week for our guys with two really emotional games back to back.”
BYU hosts Utah on Saturday.