Boise State (15-8) at Utah State (13-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 6:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: BSU 10-3, USU 11-3. Away Record: BSU 3-4, USU 2-5. Neutral Record: BSU 2-1, USU 0-1. Conference Record: BSU 5-5, USU 3-7. Series Record: Utah State leads, 28-9.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to finally break through on the road in the all-time series, the Boise State Broncos head to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to face off against the Utah State Aggies in Mountain West Conference action.
The Aggies not only lead the all-time series by a count of 28-9, they are also undefeated versus Boise State at home in Logan in 17 matchups over the years. However, there is a ray of hope for the Broncos because they are catching a USU team that hasn't been its usual dominant self at home this season and was already beaten by BSU at Taco Bell Arena last month, 78-74.
More recently, the Broncos saddled up against fifth-ranked San Diego State and pushed the elite team to the brink before coming up short in the 67-65 final on Wednesday night. The loss was the second in a row for a Boise State bunch that has split 10 conference outings to this point.
The Aggies, one of the most successful home teams in college basketball over the last decade, have struggled quite a bit over the last month of action with just two wins in the last eight outings. However, the good news for USU is that one of those victories took place earlier this week against Nevada in an 83-75 final.
Boise State had every reason to believe that it would come out on top against the Aztecs on Wednesday night at home, but the team could not make a 14-point, second-half lead stand up. Defensively, the Broncos forced 15 turnovers and allowed the visitors to clear only 24 rebounds, but at the same time SDSU connected on 58.5 percent shooting from the field. Mikey Thompson led the hosts with 16 points, Thomas Bropleh and Derrick Marks tallied 15 apiece and Anthony Drmic 13 points in the close call.
Marks is the leading scorer for the Broncos in conference play thus far with his 15.1 ppg, even while he has converted just 24.1 percent of his chances behind the 3-point line. Drmic has stepped up to contribute another 13.5 ppg in those league bouts, thanks to his 19 3-pointers, while Ryan Watkins, who was limited to just six points and eight rebounds by the Aztecs, checks in with 13.1 ppg and an even more impressive 13.4 rpg versus league foes.
Spencer Butterfield was one of two Utah State players with a double-double, posting 20 points and 11 rebounds, as the Aggies defeated Nevada by eight points in conference action at home. Butterfield, who made all but one of his nine field goal chances on the night, added three assists for the Aggies as they snapped a five-game slide.
Jarred Shaw stepped up with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Preston Medlin accounted for 14 points and seven assists. Kyle Davis pitched in with 12 points, shooting 10-of-12 at the free-throw line, but only 1-of-8 from the floor. In the second half of the meeting, after leading by just a single point at the break, USU shot an impressive 61.5 percent from the floor and 5-of-7 beyond the arc, not to mention 18-of-23 at the free-throw line in order to pull away.
One of the more balanced offensive teams in the conference, producing 71.6 ppg without a single player even scoring 15 points per outing, the Aggies continue to be a model for many teams to follow. Butterfield is responsible for 13.5 ppg and 6.3 rpg, capable of both helping out on the glass and also being a major scoring threat out on the perimeter with his 47.6 percent shooting. Medlin (13.0 ppg) joins Butterfield as a prime weapon on the outside with his 45.7 percent showing, leading the team to 41.5 percent accuracy beyond the arc as a group.
It wouldn't be unheard of to see the Broncos suffer a letdown after playing so well and coming up short in an emotional game with SDSU, but at the same time, BSU made that run at the Aztecs while Watkins played below his potential and that shouldn't happen again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 71, Utah State 63
02/08 10:19:18 ET