GAMES NOTES: Coming off their first league win of the season, the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners travel to the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow to square off with the Idaho Vandals in a Western Athletic Conference clash.
A surprising 78-75 win on the road over Seattle on Thursday carried UTSA to its first win against a conference foe this season. The victory was also the first for UTSA as a member of the WAC after the team joined the league this season. The wins have been few and far between on the whole though for the Roadrunners who are just 5-13 and even after the win over Seattle that includes just a 3-7 mark on the road. UTSA will play back-to-back home games against Denver and New Mexico State.
After they put an end to a three-game losing streak last Saturday, Idaho slipped again on Thursday in a 78-73 loss to Texas State. With the loss the Vandals have fallen to 7-11 overall on the season and to 3-5 in conference play. That is good enough for just a share of sixth place in the league standings with San Jose State. The loss also dropped the Vandals below .500 at home this season (3-4). Idaho will have plenty of opportunity to rectify that with the Vandals next two games also being held at Cowan Spectrum.
This is not only the first time these squads will be matching up as conference foes but the first time all together.
UTSA never trailed against Seattle and led by as many as 14 points in the win. UTSA was able to secure the victory due in large part to advantages from beyond the arc (24-15) and the free-throw line (24-14). The Roadrunners were also able to force 20 turnovers from Seattle which turned into 26 points.
The Roadrunners are fortunate enough to have the best scoring tandem in the conference in Kannon Burrage (18.0 ppg) and Michael Hale (16.1 ppg). The pair each rank among the top scorers in the conference with Burrage actually leading the league. Hale has been sensational in the last two games as he has topped the 30-point plateau in back-to-back games. There isn't much scoring depth beyond those two especially with Jeromie Hill (13.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg) still sidelined with a bruised left knee.
Despite a monster effort from Kyle Barone (27 points, 16 rebounds) Idaho just couldn't handle Texas State on Thursday. The Vandals shot an impressive 48 percent from the floor in the contest and had a 37-28 edge in rebounds, but a 15-7 deficit in points off turnovers proved to be their downfall.
Barone (16.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg) has really done a fantastic job of anchoring the Vandals on the interior. The 6-foot-10 center scores efficiently (.569 FG percentage) en route to ranking fourth in the conference in points per game while topping the league in rebounds. Stephen Madison (15.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 apg) provides a more than capable second option, while doing a bit of everything on the floor. Connor Hill (10.9 ppg) is also a double-digit scoring threat.
With Barone patrolling the interior, Idaho will have a real advantage against the Roadrunners. The Vandals were unable to seal the deal against Texas State but should be able to bounce back on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Idaho 70, Texas-San Antonio 64
01/26 11:30:29 ET
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