Utah State (4-1) at BYU (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 5, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (22,700) -- Provo, Utah. Television: BYUtv. Home Record: USU 3-1, BYU 4-0. Away Record: USU 1-0, BYU 0-1. Neutral Record: USU 0-0, BYU 1-2. Conference Record: USU 0-0, BYU 0-0. Series Record: BYU leads, 136-92.
GAME NOTES: Familiar foes from the Beehive State get reacquainted on Wednesday night, as the BYU Cougars entertain the Utah State Aggies in non-conference action at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Always a tough place to play for opponents, the Marriott Center has been the site of four wins in as many opportunities already this season for the Cougars. However, the last game for BYU took place on the road at Iowa State on Saturday where the team was demolished by the Cyclones in an 83-62 final. The defeat snapped a three-game win streak by the Cougars.
As for the Aggies, they are off to a 4-1 start for the second time in the last three years, thanks in part to an 80-78 overtime victory against Santa Clara last Wednesday in the first road date of the season for USU. The win was the third in a row for the program.
Dating back to the 1905-06 campaign, this is a series that is adding a 229th game to its resume' -- the oldest rivalry in USU history. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they are on the short end of a 136-92 record in the event, although they did post a 69-62 victory at home last season.
Trailing by 15 points on the road, the Aggies dug themselves a significant hole against Santa Clara last week, but USU bounced back behind a key three- pointer by Preston Medlin with just 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime where the visitors squeezed out the two-point win. Medlin finished with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds, his point total being matched by Kyisean Reed off the bench and fellow starter Danny Berger. Before fouling out, Jarred Shaw scored a team-best 15 points and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds to help save a group that turned the ball over 25 times. As someone who has more miscues (14) than assists (six) through five games, Shaw has compensated for his shortcomings by averaging a double-double with 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, both of which lead the Aggies at the moment. Medlin, a 44.4 percent shooter beyond the arc, chips in with 13.2 ppg and a team-high 19 assists. Berger (7.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.2 apg) suffered a serious medical incident on Tuesday, and his status moving forward is unclear.
Particularly in the first half at Hilton Coliseum against the Cyclones, the BYU defense was rather unimpressive as it allowed the hosts to shoot 51.7 percent from the floor, including 7-of-14 behind the three-point line. ISU was held without a three-point conversion in the second half (0-of-8), but by then the damage had been done. Brandon Davies scored a team-high 20 points for the visitors, adding six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals, but the remaining starters combined to shoot only 7-of-22 from the floor. Matt Carlino accounted for 12 points off the bench as well for a group that turned the ball over 18 times and shot just 4-of-20 beyond the arc. Tyler Haws, who opened the season with six straight games with at least 20 points, had his worst game yet as he converted only 4-of-13 from the field for his nine points, yet he still leads the group in scoring with 20.9 ppg. Davies checks in with 18.8 ppg and 7.5 rpg in order to give BYU a fighting chance in the paint, but between he and Haws there have been 47 turnovers, an average of close to six per game.
Being back at home, with the crowd on their side, the Cougars have a distinct advantage in this contest and as long as they don't fumble away the ball too many times the victory should be theirs for the taking.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 72, Utah State 66
12/05 10:33:05 ET