Idaho State (2-11) at Southern Utah (5-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Centrum Arena (5,300) -- Cedar City, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: Idaho State 2-1. Southern Utah 4-2. Away Record: Idaho State 0-7, Southern Utah 1-5. Neutral Record: Idaho State 0-3, Southern Utah 0-2. Conference Record: Idaho State 1-3, Southern Utah 3-2. Series Record: Southern Utah leads, 12-6.
GAMES NOTES: Two struggling teams in the Big Sky will meet up on Saturday night when the Idaho State Bengals square off with the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in a conference game at Centrum Arena.
Even with its surprising rout of Northern Colorado (86-63) last Saturday, Idaho State is still just 2-11 this season. The victory over the Bears ended a six-game losing streak for the Bengals and was the first win against a Division I opponent on the campaign. As might be expected Idaho State has been terrible on the road with losses in all seven trips.
As for Southern Utah, the Thunderbirds have lost back-to-back games to fall to 5-9 overall. Southern Utah has managed to win three of its five league contests and does have a solid mark at home (4-2). The Thunderbirds head out on the road next to face Montana and Montana State in consecutive games.
This is the first meeting between these teams since 2004 when Southern Utah earned an 82-79 victory. The Thunderbirds have won eight of the last nine and hold a 12-6 edge in the all-time series that dates back to 1981.
Idaho State scored more than 70 points for the first time this season in the win over Northern Colorado. The Bengals hit 46.2 percent of their shots overall and nailed 15 3-pointers. Idaho State also did a better job with ball security by committing just 10 turnovers.
The 83 points for Idaho State was above the normal output. As a team, ISU scores just 52.2 points per game, while shooting just 39.2 percent from the floor. The Bengals scoring average is among the five worst in the country as is their weak rebounding efforts (27 rpg). Melvin Morgan (12.7 ppg) is the leading scorer but shoots just 38 percent from the field, while Chris Hansen (10.0 ppg) also clocks in with double figures.
Southern Utah trailed by double digits for most of the second half and a late surge came up short in the Thunderbirds 81-74 loss to Weber State in their last outing. The Thunderbirds shot just 35.8 percent in the contest and were outscored 36-22 from the free throw line.
Southern Utah has also been one of the worst scoring teams in the Big Sky. The Thunderbirds are putting in 65.5 points per game, which ranks third to last in the conference, while hitting on 41.7 percent of their shots from the floor. Southern Utah does rebound well (38.2 pg) in fact the Thunderbirds are the second best team on the glass in the Big Sky. The duo of Jackson Stevenett (16.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Damon Heuir (14.5 ppg) anchor the unit, while Wade Collie (8.7 ppg) and Julian Scott (8.4 ppg), who has missed six games, are the only other players scoring more than seven points per game.
It is unlikely that Idaho State will be able to replicate its 3-point barrage from last week. If that is the case Southern Utah should have no trouble keeping the Bengals down.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Utah 71, Idaho State 60
01/12 10:32:00 ET