Utah State (12-4) at Boise State (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Taco Bell Arena (12,380) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: USU 10-1, BSU 7-2. Away Record: USU 2-2, BSU 3-2. Neutral Record: USU 0-1, BSU 2-1. Conference Record: USU 2-2, BSU 2-2. Series Record: Utah State leads, 28-8.
GAME NOTES: The Utah State Aggies hit the road for the next two games, with their first stop being at Taco Bell Arena tonight where they will contend against the Boise State Broncos in a Mountain West Conference clash.
In action just three nights ago, the Aggies hosted Colorado State in Logan and used the opportunity to capture a 57-50 win, their second in the last three outings. Like Boise State, the Aggies are now 2-2 in conference play and that has them tied with UNLV for fifth place in the standings heading into the weekend.
As for the Broncos, they too hit the hardwood earlier this week and also came out on top with their 74-65 triumph versus Nevada in Reno on Tuesday. The victory snapped a two-game slide for the team and moved it over .500 on the road.
The Aggies own a commanding 28-8 advantage in the all-time series, undefeated in 17 games at home, but when it comes to playing in Idaho the Broncos have competed much more aggressively, winning seven of 15 matchups. The most recent encounter took place last March, with USU's 77-69 win giving the team six victories in a row in the series.
Jarred Shaw logged a double-double two nights ago versus Colorado State at home, posting 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the hosts come away with the seven-point win. Also scoring 17 points for the Aggies was Spencer Butterfield, while Preston Medlin pitched in with 12 points and eight of the unit's 17 assists. While USU shot only 39.6 percent from the floor, 11 of the 19 baskets made came from 3-point range where the group was 52.4 percent accurate.
Although he missed a number of games due to a suspension, Shaw is still the leading scorer for the Aggies in terms of average with 15.5 ppg, his 8.1 rpg second only to Kyle Davis (9.7 ppg) who is pulling down 8.6 rpg. As a group, Utah State is beating opponents on the glass by an impressive 10.3 rpg, with foes clearing only 8.7 rpg at the offensive end, compared to 12.3 offensive rebounds per game for USU.
The Boise State offense went after one of the top scorers in the nation on Wednesday night, shutting down Nevada's Deonte Burton to the tune of only seven points on 1-of-8 shooting from the floor. Offensively, the Broncos were paced by Derrick Marks who tallied a game-high 21 points and also contributed with eight rebounds and five assists in order to offset seven turnovers. Anthony Drmic accounted for 17 points, Nick Duncan 10 off the bench, while Ryan Watkins responded with a double-double consisting of 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
For the last nine games, the leading scorer for the Broncos has been either Marks or Drmic, so it only makes sense that they are the top players atop the scoring list for the program overall. Drmic is putting up 19.2 ppg and Marks another 15.5 ppg, with the pair combining to pull down 9.3 rpg, although that effort still pales in comparison to Watkins who has supplemented his 10.3 ppg with 9.4 rpg.
Scoring close to 80 ppg right now, the Broncos are used to opening up the floor and keeping the pace at a higher tempo, but Utah State is more accustomed to slowing it all down and relying on the defense to dictate the outcome. Seeing as how the Aggies tend to have the upper-hand on the glass, that might work well for them this evening in Idaho.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 65, Boise State 62
01/18 10:24:39 ET