Feb. 14, 2014
Stew Morrill will be going for his 600th career win when the Aggies host UNLV (16-8, 7-4 MW) on Saturday, Feb. 15 in a rare home afternoon contest with a 2:05 p.m. (MT) tip-off at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270).
The battle between the Aggies and Runnin' Rebels will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network (Comcast Ch. 269/753HD, Dish Network Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221), with Dave Ryan handling play-by-play duties and Pete Gillen providing analysis. While it will be televised, Saturday's game will not be video streamed online. It will also be aired on the radio and audio streamed online on the Aggie Sports Network through on USU's website, www.UtahStateAggies.com.
USU head coach Stew Morrill enters Saturday's game with 599 career wins, needing one more to become the 14th active Division I head coach and the 41st all-time Division I head coach with 600 wins.
UNLV head coach Dave Rice was an assistant under Morrill during the 2004-05 season, when the Aggies posted a 24-8 overall and 13-5 Big West record, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Morrill is currently 1-1 this season against his former assistants, beating Weber State who is coached by Randy Rahe, while losing the first meeting of the season against Rice and UNLV, 62-42, on Jan. 22 in Las Vegas.
Utah State 1-1 this season in afternoon games (L, 74-57 at Wyoming and W, 76-70 vs. Boise State) and is 19-22 (.486) all-time under Morrill when playing in the afternoon.
USU and UNLV will be meeting for the 22nd time in history this weekend, and for the first time in Logan since March 2, 1996, with the Aggies trailing the series, 28-3, just one of two Mountain West foes that USU has a losing record against, posting a 2-11 record in Logan, 1-15 in Las Vegas and 0-2 on neutral courts. USU and UNLV first met on the court on Jan. 6, 1983. The Aggies and Runnin' Rebels have split the last six match-ups, alternating win-loss, after UNLV had won the first 25 meetings. USU won the last meeting, on March 2, 1996, 82-69, which was in Logan, as part of the Aggies winning two of the last three match-ups at home. USU and UNLV still hold the No. 8 mark for the NCAA's highest scoring combined games at 282 from the Runnin' Rebels' 142-140 3OT thriller on Jan. 2, 1985 in Las Vegas.
USU senior guard Preston Medlin will be playing in his 100th career game Saturday, becoming the 26th player in Aggie men's basketball history to play in 100 career games. Now with 1,293 career points, Medlin needs seven points to become the 16th player in USU history with 1,300.
USU leads the Mountain West overall statistics in three-point field goal percentage (.418), rebound margin (+6.9), assists (16.8) and assist-turnover ratio (1.5). The Aggies are also second in free throw percentage (.744) and field goal percentage (.472), while ranking fourth in both three-point field goal percentage defense (.313) and scoring defense (66.6). USU is also fifth in field goal percentage defense (.418) and rebounds (36.3), as well as sixth in blocks (3.9), seventh in both scoring (71.8) and scoring margin (+5.1) and 11th in steals (3.2).
Individually, senior guard Preston Medlin is second in the league in assists (4.3) and third in assist-turnover ratio (3.0), while ranking fourth in three-point field goals made (2.4) and 19th in scoring (13.5). Senior center Jarred Shaw is 13th in the conference in scoring (14.4), ranking third in field goal percentage (.487), eighth in blocks (1.4), sixth in free throw percentage (.812) and eighth in rebounding (8.0). Fellow senior, guard/forward Spencer Butterfield is tied for 17th in scoring (13.5), tied for 13th in rebounding (6.2) and eighth in three-point field goals made (2.2). Sophomore forward Kyle Davis is seventh in blocks (1.4) and ninth in rebounds (7.8). Fellow sophomore, guard Marcel Davis, is second in assist-turnover ratio (3.0) and sixth in assists (3.3).
Utah State has five top 20 marks in the recent NCAA statistical categories, released Feb. 14, including ranking third in the country in three-point field goal percentage (.418), eighth in assists per game (16.8), 14th in assist-turnover ratio (1.47), 15th in total assists (404) and 16th in rebounding margin (+6.9). The Aggies also are 27th in free throw percentage (.744), 44th in field goal percentage (.472), 52nd in three-point field goal percentage defense (.313), and 84th in scoring defense (66.6).
Individually, sophomore guard Marcel Davis is 18th in the nation in assist-turnover margin (3.00), while senior guard Preston Medlin is 22nd (2.97). Medlin is also 89th in three-point field goals per game (2.42). Senior center Jarred Shaw is 86th in rebounding (8.0).
Utah State is the only team with more than one player in the top 30 of the NCAA stats for assist-turnover ratio, and the Aggies have two players in the top 20 of the rankings. Sophomore guard Marcel Davis is 18th in the nation in assist-turnover margin (3.00), while senior guard Preston Medlin is 22nd (2.97).
The Runnin' Rebels have won five of their last six games, bringing a 16-8 overall and 7-4 MW record in Saturday's game, not having played since Saturday, Feb. 8. After having its four-game win streak snapped with a palindromic 75-57 loss at Colorado State, UNLV bounced back with a 48-46 battle at home against Wyoming on Feb. 8. Junior forward Khem Birch was the lone Runnin' Rebel in double-figures with 10 points, while junior guard Deville Smith posted nine points, and junior forward Roscoe Smith snared a game-high tying nine rebounds.
Roscoe Smith leads not only UNLV and the MW, but also the NCAA in rebounding at 11.6 rebounds per game, also ranking first in the MW and third in the NCAA in double-doubles (14). Roscoe Smith adds 11.3 points per game. Junior guard Bryce Dejean-Jones ranks 18th in the MW in scoring (13.5), while also ranking seventh in the league in assist-turnover ratio (2.0) and 11th in assists (3.1). Birch is fourth in the conference in rebounding (9.3), while leading the league and ranking fourth in the country in blocked shots (3.6). Senior guard Kevin Olekaibe is fifth in the conference in three-point field goals made per game (2.3), making a team-high 55 on the way to a team-best 37.2 percent (55-of-148) behind the arc.
*** Continued in game notes
USU returns home to host UNLV on Saturday, Feb. 15 in another Saturday afternoon contest, as the battle between the Aggies and Rebels will tip-off at 2 p.m. (MT) and will also be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.
For Utah State 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.
The NCAA has launched the NCAA 6th Fan contest, an exciting nationwide online competition that will determine which Division I school has the most school pride and supportive fans. Utah State fans can learn all the details at www.ncaa.com/6thfan, including how to win great fan prizes and how to help Utah State be awarded over $100,000 in general scholarship contributions.
Utah State fans can vote at www.ncaa.com/6thFan by casting votes directly, or votes can be submitted through ncaa.com to Facebook and Twitter. Fans also can vote directly on Twitter by Tweeting or Retweeting the #6thFan hashtag and Utah State's hashtag: #UTST.
USU has also been nominated as one of the top college basketball student sections in the country and is now asking for fan support in helping it win the prestigious title. Aggie fans can have a say in determining the most deserving student section by voting for the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award daily via social media platforms.
There are three ways fans can vote. There is a direct link to a poll at www.mystudentsectionrocks.com. Fans can also go on facebook at www.facebook.com/collegecolors or vote on twitter using the hashtag: #RockUSUColors.
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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