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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 6, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gill Coliseum (9,604) -- Corvallis, Oregon. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Utah 8-6. Oregon State 8-5. Away Record: Utah 2-5, Oregon State 1-5. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, Oregon State 2-1. Conference Record: Utah 2-6, Oregon State 1-8. Series Record: Utah leads, 12-9.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams at the bottom of the Pac-12 face off on Wednesday night at Gill Coliseum when the Utah Utes collide with the Oregon State Beavers in conference action.
By splitting its last four games in league play Utah is in the midst of its best run since beginning its conference slate in early January. The Utes are now 2-6 in Pac-12 play which has them tied for 10th in the league standings.
As for Oregon Sate its 81-73 setback against Stanford on Sunday was the third- straight loss for the Beavers and the eighth in nine tries against league foes. The Beavers are firmly seated at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings as the second half of the league slate begins.
These teams met twice last season with Oregon State taking each contest. They were the first two contests between these teams as conference foes. Utah leads the all-time series overall though with a 12-9 mark against the Beavers.
In a battle of the two newest Pac-12 members Utah was able to sneak by Colorado, 58-55, last time out. The Utes led by as many as 22 points in the contest but had that lead slashed to just one point (54-53) with 1:45 remaining. The Utes then hit all four of their free throw attempts down the stretch to keep the Buffaloes at arms length.
As the second lowest scoring team in the conference it was no surprise to see Utah struggle to put a team away. The Utes are scoring just 65 points per game this season which ranks second to last in the conference, despite shooting a solid 45.3 percent from the field. Defensively, Utah has limited teams to 60.9 points per game and 38.1 percent shooting. Utah could be in trouble if Jordan Loveridge (12.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg), who is listed as probable with a sore knee, is unavailable in this contest. Without their leading scorer the Utes will need players like Jarred DuBois (11.7 ppg) and Jason Washburn (11.0 ppg) to step up.
Oregon State's perimeter defense was severely lacking in its loss to Stanford. The Beavers allowed the Cardinal to knock down 14 shots from beyond the arc while they managed just five as a team. That 42-15 margin in points from 3- point range was crucial as the Beavers did manage to shoot at a better percentage from the floor in the contest than the Cardinal.
Roberto Nelson (16.5 ppg) continued his stellar season in the most recent contest by dropping in 20 points. The Beavers' leading scorer, Nelson has now scored in double figures in seven straight games, managing to reach at least 20 in three of the last five. Ahmad Starks (12.2 ppg) has been a nice complement in the backcourt, while Devon Collier (14.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Joe Burton (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Eric Moreland (9.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg) anchor the frontcourt. Moreland is the second best rebounder in the Pac-12, helping the Beavers to rank fourth in the conference as a team in that category (37.9 ppg).
These two teams have very different styles of play with Utah preferring to slowly grind out games while Oregon Sate likes to get out and run. Whichever team can control the tempo will have an advantage. At home it's likely that the Beavers will achieve that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 74, Utah 67
02/06 10:36:33 ET