February 17, 2011
Maybe Utah State bought poorly made discount backboards. Maybe the whole night was just a complete fluke.
Either way, the Aggies probably set a bizarre record Wednesday night by somehow going through three backboards in a single game.
Six-foot-7 Tai Wesley broke the first one during halftime warmups with a two-handed slam powerful enough that the rim gave way in his hands and the backboard shattered. Workers then somehow smashed the backup backboard while trying to position it upright and attach the shot clock, leading to a 45-minute delay while a third one was found and installed.
"I have never had a backboard broken in 25 years as a head coach, let alone two," Utah State coach Stew Morrill told reporters after the game. "I wasn't out there when either one of them happened, but that was weird."
Backboard-breaking dunks are rare in this era of shatter-resistant hoops throughout college basketball, so the always innovative Utah State student section chose to celebrate Wesley's achievement during the lengthy delay.
They mocked the backboard in the same way they taunt opposing teams that lose at the Spectrum, chanting "Was that not a backboard? Yes that was a backboard! Was that not Tai Wesley? Yes that was Tai Wesley! Winning team! Losing Team!"
The shattered backboards were by far the most noteworthy moments from Utah State's 100-66 throttling of overmatched Montana-Western. The WAC-leading Aggies used the game as a tuneup for their crucial Bracketbusters matchup on Saturday at fellow bubble team Saint Mary's.
Wesley told the Cache Valley Daily he was shocked that the backboard broke because the dunk was no different than any others he typically does during warmups.
"I didn't know what to do," he said. "I felt bad, I felt like I was in trouble, and then I kind of celebrated. It was my first backboard ever broken, and I hope that the school will give it to me. I would love to have that backboard."