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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 4:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: UNLV 10-5, USU 12-3. Away Record: UNLV 4-3, USU 3-5. Neutral Record: UNLV 2-0, USU 0-1. Conference Record: UNLV 7-4, USU 5-7. Series Record: UNLV leads, 28-3.
GAME NOTES: UNLV tries to complete the season sweep of the Utah State Aggies this afternoon, as the Runnin' Rebels tangle with their Mountain West Conference partners at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Last month, the Rebels blew the doors off USU at the Thomas & Mack Center, producing a lopsided 62-42 win, which means the all-time series now numbers 28-3 in favor of UNLV.
More recently, the Runnin' Rebels faced off against Wyoming at home last weekend and managed to post a narrow 48-46 victory, marking the fifth win in the last six outings for a squad that is now 10-5 in its own building. However, today's game is taking place in Logan, and in true road games this season UNLV is just 4-3.
Meanwhile, the Aggies seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time, having recently dropped five straight. The program took down Colorado State in Fort Collins earlier this week, 71-62, in order to move to 5-7 in conference play, although that still has USU trailing the Runnin' Rebels (7-4) in the standings.
With points at a premium, the Runnin' Rebels managed to escape against visiting Wyoming even though they shot only 3-of-13 behind the 3-point line and 3-of-4 at the charity stripe. Khem Birch emerged as the only double-digit scorer for the home team with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, while Roscoe Smith logged eight points and nine of the unit's 25 rebounds as well.
Although he, just like everyone other than Birch, was held to single digits against the Cowboys, Bryce Dejean-Jones is still the top scorer on the season overall with his 13.5 ppg. He is also tops in the passing department with 71 assists and is being credited with 3.7 rpg, but Dejean-Jones could stand to be a bit more judicious as far as his 3-point shooting (.269) is concerned. On the inside the Rebels are led by Birch (11.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Roscoe Smith (11.3 ppg, 11.6 rpg), the former accounting for 86 blocked shots as well.
Coming off a a pair of wins, the Rams were due to have a let down and that's exactly what happened against Utah State as the Aggies held them to only five first-half field goals and a meager 29.8 percent from the floor overall in their meeting earlier this week. Utah State, which led by as many as 18 in the meeting, was paced by Preston Medlin with 18 points, followed by Spencer Butterfield and Kyle Davis with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
While he struggled a bit against Colorado State, Jarred Shaw is still the leading scorer for the program with his 14.4 ppg, with Butterfield and Medlin following close behind with 13.5 ppg each. Both Butterfield and Medlin are carrying the load as far as producing from behind the 3-point line through 24 games, combining to knock down 110 of the squad's 170 triples, but more importantly, hitting attempts with at least 45.0 percent accuracy each.
Clearly the Runnin' Rebels can play at any pace and be successful, but with Utah State finally gaining some positive momentum and playing at home where it has been so dominant over the last decade, this is a matchup that should fall in favor of the Aggies.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 71, UNLV 66
02/15 10:29:30 ET
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