Practice Goal Helps Utah State Finish Basketball Game

Paul Steinbach Headshot

Most basketball facilities have a reserve goal on hand in case an emergency substitution is needed, but the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum at Utah State had to go even deeper into its backboard bench Wednesday.

As part of his intermission ritual, USU forward Tai Wesley was throwing down the second of two dunks before officials emerged from the locker room for the second half of a game against Montana Western, only to have the glass backboard shatter. "I didn't know what to do," Wesley said afterward, as reported by The Herald Journal of Logan, Utah. "I felt bad. I felt like I was in trouble. Then I kind of celebrated."

Fans weren't celebrating the ensuing 45-minute delay, exacerbated by the accidental shattering of the first replacement backboard as Spectrum crew members were affixing the shot clock. A third goal - otherwise used for practice - was wheeled into place, with the shot clock positioned on the floor. Though a bit wobbly, the goal endured, as did the 25th-ranked Aggies, who routed their NAIA visitors, 100-66.

Because Wesley wasn't hanging on the rim when the first backboard shattered, USU coach Stew Morrill theorized that the equipment was destined to break at some point. "I've never had a backboard broken in 25 years as a head coach," Morrill said, "let alone two."

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