Utah State (15-14) at San Jose State (9-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 1st, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Event Center (5,000) -- San Jose, California. Television: None. Home Record: USU 13-4, SJSU 6-6. Away Record: USU 2-10, SJSU 2-13. Neutral Record: USU 0-0, SJSU 1-0. Conference Record: USU 6-6, SJSU 1-11. Series Record: Utah State leads, 48-21.
GAME NOTES: No longer the dominating force in the Western Athletic Conference, the Utah State Aggies have to settle for the fact that they'll finish somewhere in the middle of the pack in the league standings this year. However, the team could take a positive step forward when it meets up with San Jose State tonight at The Event Center.
With a mark of just 15-14 at the moment, the Aggies are showing their worst record through 29 games since the 1992-93 campaign when they finished a mere 10-17, so this is clearly new territory for everyone involved. Last week, the team defeated Idaho at home, 67-50, which means USU is shooting for back-to- back wins for just the third time this season.
As for the Spartans, they've won consecutive outings just once in 2011-12, posting victories over Coppin State and Seattle University at the end of December. Since then the team has won a total of just three games and only one of those has come in conference play. San Jose State is currently riding a two-game slide following a 79-68 setback at New Mexico State last weekend.
The Aggies won the first meeting of the season against SJSU rather convincingly, 82-65, at the end of January, which means the all-time series now sits at 48-41 in favor of Utah State.
Preston Medlin erupted for a game-high 32 points, shooting 6-of-8 behind the three-point line and 11-of-13 from the floor overall, adding eight rebounds and five assists as he and the Aggies cruised to the comfortable win over Idaho last week in Logan. Surprisingly, the Vandals actually led by as many as 15 points in the first half before USU put the screws to them and held the visitors to just 36.0 percent shooting from the floor overall. Brockeith Pane added 12 points and seven assists as well for the hosts. Medlin has been trying to do it all for the Aggies during WAC games this season, averaging a team-high 17.8 ppg while shooting 45.3 percent behind the three-point line but also making himself available for close to four and a half rebounds per outing. Pane checks in with 12.0 ppg and is averaging almost five assists per contest in order to keep USU competitive as much as possible, even though the team is outscoring the opposition by only 2.3 ppg right now.
Wil Carter logged a double-double for the Spartans with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but at the same time New Mexico State had a pair of players with a double-double so needless to say Carter's effort wasn't nearly good enough at the Pan American Center. Keith Shamburger added 11 points and James Kinney 10, as the team shot just 37.1 percent from the field and 5-of-20 behind the three-point line, and all of those misses left the Aggies plenty of rebounds to collect. In conference play, Carter paces the team in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 15.8 points and 9.9 caroms per contest, but still this is a team being beaten on the glass by almost six rebounds per game while those same opponents are outscoring SJSU by close to 11 ppg. Kinney and Shamburger account for 14.9 and 11.5 ppg, respectively, but the former is shooting a poor 38.6 percent from the floor and the latter an even worse 29.8 percent.
Despite having a disappointing season, the Aggies are still a proud bunch and will bring that attitude to the court tonight as they try to inch a bit higher in the WAC standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 69, San Jose State 60.
03/01 10:32:56 ET