Jan. 3, 2014
LOGAN, Utah -
In its first-ever home Mountain West Conference game, Utah State (10-3, 0-1 MW) men's basketball will host fellow MW rookie and former Western Athletic Conference foe, San José State (6-7, 0-1 MW), on Saturday, Jan. 4.
The battle between the Aggies and Spartans will tip-off at 7 p.m. (MT) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270). Saturday's match-up between USU and SJSU will not be televised, but will be video streamed online through on USU's website, www.UtahStateAggies.com, as well as aired on the radio and audio streamed online on the Aggie Sports Network, as well as video streamed online through on USU's website, www.UtahStateAggies.com.
USU is going for its 24th-consecutive conference home opening victory, as the Aggies went a perfect 8-0 in their eight WAC home openers. Overall, USU's last loss in its first home league game was 1988-89 in the Big West Conference.
The Utah State-San José State is the sixth-oldest rivalry in USU history, meeting for the 73rd time this week. USU's first game against SJSU was on Dec. 23, 1935 with the Aggies posting a 40-36 road win.
Utah State and San José State are familiar foes, having been in not only the WAC together, but the Big West together for a stint as well. USU and SJSU will be meeting for the 73rd time this week with the Aggies owning a 51-21 all-time advantage, which includes a 30-4 mark at Logan. Utah State has won 33 of the last 37 games played in the series, including 12 straight overall and 22 straight at home. The last time San Jose State won a game in the series was on Feb. 18, 2008 in San Jose, 70-67, and the last time it won in Logan was on Feb. 25, 1982 by a final score of 55-47. USU head coach Stew Morrill is 22-1 all-time against the Spartans, which includes an 18-1 record as the Aggies head coach.
Utah State's Mountain West Conference debut was spoiled by Air Force Wednesday night, as the Falcons nipped the Aggies, 73-72, at USAFA's Clune Arena. USU was playing in its first Mountain West game, and fell to 0-1 in league play, while now 10-3 overall on the year. Air Force improved to 7-5 overall and 1-0 in MW action. The Falcons have won their conference opener in each of the last three years, all against league newcomers. Wednesday was the first meeting between USU and Air Force since 2000, as the loss snapped a seven-game win streak in the series, leveling the meetings at Air Force Academy at 3-3, as Wednesday was the Aggies' first visit to the Falcons' home court since 1977, while closing USU's overall series lead to 10-3.
Senior guard Preston Medlin led four Aggie players in double-digit scoring with 19 points, while senior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield posted 16 points and freshman forward Jalen Moore netted a season-high by matching his jersey number with 14 points, posting double-digits for the second time in three games. Sophomore forward Kyle Davis logged his second-straight double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and his fourth double-double of the season. It was the seventh double-figure scoring outing and fifth double-digit rebounding game this season, including the fourth in last five games. The Aggies dished out 21 assists Wednesday, for their third-straight game with 20+ helpers, and the fifth game this season with 20 ore more assists. Sophomore guard Marcel Davis dished out six assists, all in the first four minutes of the second half, as the Aggies hit six of their first seven shots, rallying from down 39-34 at the half. Medlin had four helpers and Butterfield, Kyle Davis and senior guard TeNale Roland had three assists each. Kyle Davis had all three of USU's blocks in the game.
The Aggies have four players averaging in double-figures for the season, led by senior center Jarred Shaw with 16.1 points per game, while Butterfield and Medlin each net 14.2 ppg and Kyle Davis adds 10.1 ppg. Shaw also averages 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He is shooting 54.3 percent (51-of-94) from the field, as well as a team-best 87.1 percent (27-of-31) from the free throw line. Shaw was suspended for five games for a violation of team rules but was reinstated Friday and will be in action Saturday. Butterfield and Medlin are each shooting over 47 percent from three-point range and both shooting identical free throw percentages at 81.3 percent, with Medlin at 39-of-48 and Butterfield at 26-of-32. Behind the arc, Butterfield has made 47.6 percent (30-of-63), while Medlin is shooting 47.1 percent (33-of-70). Butterfield is making exactly half of his field goals (64-of-128), while Medlin is just shy of half at 45.5 percent (56-123). Medlin is also averaging 3.85 assists per game and 3.33 assist-turnover ratio. Butterfield is averaging 6.5 rebounds per game, adding 2.8 assists per game. Kyle Davis leads the team with 8.6 rebounds per game and tops the team with 20 total blocks (1.7 per game). He is shotting 63.4 percent (45-of-71) from the field, along with 31-of-52 (59.6 percent) at the free throw line.
As a team, USU is averaging 76.0 points per game, while making just under half of its field goals at 49.2 percent (342-of-695), including 41.3 percent (97-of-235) from beyond the arc, as well as 74.2 percent (207-of-279) at the free throw line. Defensively, the Aggies are limiting the opposition to 65.2 ppg, while holding them to 41.8 percent (295-of-706) field goal shooting, including just 28.4 percent (62-of-218) from three-point range, as well as 73.0 percent (195-of-267) at the charity stripe. USU has a +10.6 rebounding margin (37.7-27.1), while averaging 18.1 assists, 4.5 blocks and 3.4 steals per game, as well as committing 11.8 turnovers per contest.
USU leads the Mountain West Conference overall statistics in rebound margin (+10.6) and assists (18.1), while ranking second in field goal percentage (.492), three-point field goal percentage (.413) and assist-turnover ratio (1.5). The Aggies are also fourth in scoring defense (65.2), scoring margin (+10.8), free throw percentage (.742) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.284), as well as fifth in scoring (76.0) and blocks (4.5). USU is also sixth in field goal percentage defense (.418) and rebounds (37.7), along with 11th in steals (3.4).
Individually, senior guard Preston Medlin is first in the conference in assist-turnover ratio (3.3), while ranking second in three-point field goal percentage (.471), third in both three-pointers made (2.5) and assists (3.8), eighth in free throw percentage (.813) and 10th in minutes (31.9). Medlin also is tied for 15th in scoring (14.2), tying with senior teammate Spencer Butterfield, who is also eighth in three-point field goals made (2.3) and 12th in rebounding (6.5). Sophomore guard Marcel Davis is second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (3.0) and seventh in assists (3.5), while fellow sophomore, forward Kyle Davis is fourth in blocks (1.7) and eighth in rebounds (8.6).
The Spartans are 6-7 overall and 0-1 in MW action, also losing their league debut contest with a 62-50 loss at home to Nevada, a loss that snapped SJSU's four-game win streak. The Aggies and Spartans have one common opponent this season in Weber State, as USU beat WSU, 77-71, on Nov. 26 at Ogden, Utah, and SJSU lost to WSU, 72-55, on Nov. 30, also at Ogden.
SJSU is led by freshman guard Rashad Muhammad, who is netting 16.4 points per game off the bench. Muhammed is eighth in the MW in scoring, second in three-pointers made (2.9) and third in both three-point percentage (.432) and free throw percentage (.836). Junior forward Jaleel Williams is the second of three Spartans in double-figures, posting 11.6 ppg, while junior guard Devante Wilson is the third at 10.7 ppg. Senior forward Chris Cunningham leads the team and is tied for 10th in the MW in rebounding (7.2), averaging 8.2 ppg. Williams is 14th in the league in rebounding (6.3), while freshman guard Jalen James is 18th in rebounding (5.4). Cunningham also is 10th in the conference in blocked shots (1.1). Junior guard D.J. Brown is sixth in the MW in assists (3.5) and eighth in steals (1.4), as well as fourth in assist-turnover ratio (2.2).
The Spartans are 10th in the MW in scoring offense (70.9) and ninth in scoring defense (71.2), ranking 10th in scoring margin (-0.3). SJSU also is 11th in field goal percentage (.396), sixth in both three-point field goal percentage (.361) and free throw percentage (.724). The Spartans are fifth in field goal percentage defense (.410) and seventh in three-point field goal percentage defense (.327), as well as seventh in rebound margin (+2.9), tied for eighth in assists (12.5), ninth in steals (4.9), 10th in assist-turnover ratio (1.0) and 11th in turnover margin (-3.2).
SJSU head coach Dave Wojcik is in his first season at the helm of the Spartans program, after three seasons as the associate head coach at fellow MW opponent, Boise State.
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USU men's basketball single-game, multi-game and season tickets are on sale. All other single-game tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, Jan. 6. Single-game tickets will cost $18 for non-priority and $20 for priority, as well as $25 for premium game against UNLV (Feb. 15).
To order a package or for more Aggie men's basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow the Aggie men's basketball program at twitter.com/AggieHoops. USU fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.
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