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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cowan Spectrum (7,000) -- Moscow, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: Texas State 3-7, Idaho 3-4. Away Record: Texas State 1-5, Idaho 4-5. Neutral Record: Texas State 1-2, Idaho 0-1. Conference Record: Texas State 1-6, Idaho 3-4. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between new Western Athletic Conference foes Idaho and Texas State takes place at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow on Thursday night.
Idaho, which is seeking to win back-to-back games for just the third time this season, has a mark of 3-4 at home, which is identical to the team's league record at this stage as well. Idaho was last in action over the weekend when it took out Texas-Arlington in a 77-64 final on the road.
As for Texas State, it is further down in the conference standings with just a single victory in seven chances since coming over from the Southland Conference. The Bobcats were pitted against Texas-San Antonio last Saturday and managed to squeeze by with an 81-78 overtime decision, snapping a lengthy nine-game slide in the process.
Texas State had five players score in double figures during the win over UTSA at the Convocation Center, led by Reid Koenen who dropped in 23 points as he shot 5-of-7 behind the 3-point line off the bench. Corey Stern recorded a double-double with 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, followed by Joel Wright with 16 points in a reserve role, Phil Hawkins 13 and Wesley Davis 10 points in the narrow win. Even though the team was finally able to get over the hump in the WAC, the Bobcats are still hurting as those league opponents average more than 13 ppg in winning margin. Wright has tried his best to lead the team to victory with his 18.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg, but even his 41-of-52 (.788) effort at the free-throw line is not enough, as the rest of his teammates combine to make just 39-of-67 at the stripe in conference outings.
The Vandals held just a four-point lead at the break versus UTA the last time out, but in the second half the visitors caught fire, connecting on a stunning 72.2 percent from the floor, as well as 13-of-15 at the free-throw line, in order to pull away for the double-digit win. Except for Mike McChristian who finished with only three points in 24 minutes before fouling out, every starter hit for double figures, led by Connor Hill with a game-high 19. Stephen Madison tacked on 15 points and Robert Harris 10, but surely Kyle Barone was the star of the show with 14 points and a massive 18 rebounds, just eight shy of UTA's entire rebounding total. With his huge effort on the glass, Barone is now averaging a double-double in conference play with 15.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per outing, while Madison and Hill check in with 14.4 and 12.9 ppg, respectively, and yet the group is outscoring its opponents by just 1.3 ppg.
With one of the better defenses in the conference, at least against WAC foes, the Vandals have made it tough for opponents to attack from the perimeter and even though that is not a strength of the Bobcats to begin with, they may have to resort to that depending on how quickly they fall behind.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Idaho 68, Texas State 57
01/24 10:31:30 ET
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