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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 15, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: SMC 1-0, Utah State 1-0. Away Record: SMC 0-0, Utah State 0-0. Neutral Record: SMC 0-0, Utah State 0-0. Conference Record: SMC 0-0, Utah State 0-0. Series Record: Utah State leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: The Utah State Aggies continue their four-game home stand to start the season on Thursday night against the Saint Mary's-CA Gaels at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan.
Saint Mary's started off its season strong last Saturday with a convincing win over Division II foe Sonoma State, 95-69. The Gaels are the defending West Coast Conference champions, spending much of 2011-12 season ranked in the Top-25, and they are out to improve upon that 27-win campaign this time around.
For the 18th time in the last 19 seasons, Utah State was victorious in its season opener, downing Idaho State last Saturday, 56-48. Head coach Stew Morrill is a perfect 8-0 when opening up at home, and the Aggies are now 179-15 under Morrill when allowing fewer than 60 points.
These two teams met in February of 2011, with Utah State coming out on top, 75-65. The Aggies have won five of eight games against the Gaels all-time.
Saint Mary's did not disappoint against an inferior opponent in its season opener, as it got out to a commanding 48-24 lead at the half and put the game on auto-pilot from there. The shooting was spectacular for the Gaels, as they connected on better than 53 percent of their field goal attempts, including 11 three-pointers, but it wasn't the cleanest of games as they shot just 57.1 percent from the free-throw line (12-of-21) and turned the ball over 21 times. Just as he was all of last season, Matthew Dellavedova was the team's catalyst, scoring 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting while also dishing out five assists. The guard led the team in scoring (15.6 ppg) and assists (6.4 apg) a year ago, and he hopes to repeat as the WCC Player of the Year in his senior season. Stephen Holt scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, and starting forwards Brad Waldow and Mitchell Young amazingly had duplicate lines, each shooting 4-of-6 from the field for 11 points while grabbing seven rebounds.
Although Utah State allowed Idaho State to hang around in the opener, it led the game wire-to-wire. The Aggies were impressive from the field (22-of-47) and connected on 6-of-14 shots from beyond the arc, while holding their opponent to under 40 percent shooting. Preston Medlin was the only play to tally double figures in points with 14 on 5-of-7 from the field. After putting up 17.0 ppg a year ago, Medlin came into the season as the Preseason WAC Player of the Year, and his success will be imperative if the Aggies want to have another 20-win season in 2012-13. Kyisean Reed (10.0 ppg) will also be a key contributor to this year's squad. He scored just seven points but helped out elsewhere with five rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. Jarred Shaw started at center and narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and nine boards.
In a matchup between two of the nation's premiere guards, Dellavedova and Medlin will likely go toe-to-toe at both ends of the floor. With the home crowd behind him, figure Medlin to get the best of this bout as Utah State moves to 2-0.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 73, Saint Mary's-CA 69
11/15 10:34:37 ET
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