Texas-Arlington (4-4) at Utah State (5-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 20th, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: UTA 3-0, USU 4-1. Away Record: UTA 1-1, USU 1-4. Neutral Record: UTA 0-0, USU 0-0. Conference Record: UTA 0-0, USU 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas-Arlington Mavericks will get a sample of Western Athletic Conference basketball as they head to Logan for a duel with their future conference foe Utah State Aggies in the Athletes in Action Classic.
This will be the first meeting between the programs. UTA is set to move into the WAC next season, so this matchup will become a regular occurrence going forward.
The Mavericks are going to be a tough test for the hosts. UTA comes in with a 4-4 overall record, but was very competitive in losses to top-tier opponents Baylor, Texas, and Tulsa. UTA showed it has the ability to completely control a ball game earlier this season as it went on a 32-0 run during a route of North Texas. The Mavericks lost 80-75 in overtime to Tulsa their last time out after blowing a lead late in regulation. The Mavericks are a very feisty team offensively as they are scoring 78.4 ppg, which is 32nd best in the nation.
The offensive success of UTA is due to the trio of LaMarcus Reed III, Kevin Butler, and Bo Ingram. Reed III leads the squad with 13.6 ppg on 42.4 percent shooting from the field. The senior swingman will look to stay hot as he is coming off a 20-point performance against Tulsa. Butler is second on the team in scoring with 12.1 ppg. The TCU transfer has scored in double-figures in four-straight games coming into this one. Ingram is averaging 10.1 ppg, but has not scoring in double-figures in four-straight games. Ingram has gone 5- of-22 from the floor in his last two outings, but it is expected that it is just a matter of time before the talented forward turns it around.
Utah State comes in with a 4-4 overall record and a 4-1 mark at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies are 40-1 all-time in tournaments they are hosting. Utah State defeated Seattle 78-53 its last time out due to a great all-around performance. The Aggies held Seattle to 29.2 percent shooting from the field while making 22-of-44 themselves en route to the wide-margined victory. Utah State has now held six of its 10 opponents under 40 percent shooting this season.
Preston Medlin and Brockeith Pane are two vital ingredients to the Aggies' success. Medlin leads the team with 13.7 ppg and is a lights out three-point threat as he is knocking down 45.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Pane, the only returning starter from last year, is second on the team with 12.3 ppg. Pane scored 18 points in the team's loss to Wichita State before having a quiet four-point outing in the rout of Seattle.
This should be an interesting clash between a very good offensive UTA team and a relentless defensive-minded Utah State squad. The Aggies have the homecourt advantage and athletes to slow down the Mavericks, but they will need to continue to produce offensively to avoid their second loss at home this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 75, Texas-Arlington 72
12/20 10:39:05 ET