• The game will mark the second contest for Utah State in the Cancun Challenge, the first regular season tournament that the Aggies have played in and not served as the host since the 2007-08 season, when USU played in the South Padre Island Invitational.
• Utah State leads the all-time series 38-13 against the Bengals and has won 16 straight, dating back to the 1981-82 season. The Aggies are 17-2 all-time against Idaho State at home. The series is the 17th-longest in school history for USU.
• Utah State will be looking to start the season 3-0 for the second consecutive year under head coach Tim Duryea, fourth year in a row and for the 43rd time overall as a program. Duryea would become just the second head coach in USU history to open his first two seasons 3-0, joining H.B. Lee (1946-47)
Things Of Note
• Utah State is calling the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum home for the 47th season in 2016-17, amassing a 553-131 (.811) record on its home court.
• Senior wing Jalen Moore needs just four points to overtake his father, Jimmy, a Utah State Hall of Famer, on the all-time scoring records at USU.
• Utah State had five players score in double figures in the first leg of the Cancun Challenge against NJIT on Monday night, including senior wing Jalen Moore (19), freshman guard Koby McEwen (18), freshman guard Sam Merrill (15), junior forward Ngor Barnaba (12) and sophomore forward Norbert Janicek (11).
Scouting Idaho State
Idaho State enters the game on Saturday night with an overall mark of 0-2 after opening the year with an 81-70 loss at New Mexico, followed by an 82-73 defeat at Utah Valley. The Bengals have played tough in both games, leading for more than half of the game in Albuquerque and just under a half in Orem.
ISU is averaging 71.5 points per game and shooting 43.0 percent (55-of-128) from the floor, 35.0 percent (14-of-40) from behind the 3-point line and 50.0 percent (19-of-38) from the free throw line. Senior guard Ethan Telfair leads the Bengals individually with 25.0 points, 7.5 assists and 4.5 steals per game and ranks second with 7.5 rebounds per game. He is followed by junior guard Geno Luzcando with 14.0 points and a matching 7.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Novak Topalovic leads the Bengals on the glass with 12.5 per game and averages a double-double with 13.5 points per game.
Defensively, Idaho State plays a match-up zone that will be unique from other teams that Utah State will face this year. Opponents have shot 45.5 percent (55-of-121) against the zone, 31.8 percent (14-of-44) from behind the 3-point line and 69.6 percent (39-of-56) from the free throw line en route to 81.5 points per game.
Head coach Bill Evans is in his fifth year at Idaho State, compiling an overall mark of 40-82 over that span.
Series History against Idaho State
Utah State leads the all-time series 38-13 against the Bengals and has won 16 straight, dating back to the 1981-82 season. The Aggies are 17-2 all-time against Idaho State at home. The series is the 17th-longest in school history for USU.
Last Time Against Idaho State
Utah State’s men’s basketball closed out the first half of its game against Idaho State with a 10-2 run to take a 29-28 lead into the break and never looked back in a 69-58 victory over the Bengals on Dec. 22, 2015, in Game 4 of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase, sponsored by Gossner Foods.
The Aggie win was the seventh consecutive victory when leading at the half in 2015-16 and put Utah State at 7-3 on the year and 53-2 all-time in regular season tournaments at home. Senior guard Chris Smith led the Aggies in points, rebounds and assists for the second consecutive night and for the fourth time in his career, logging a season-high 22 points and adding 10 rebounds and a season-high tying six assists. The performance also marked his second double-double of his career. Smith was followed closely by junior wing Jalen Moore with 19 points and a season-high nine rebounds. Moore’s jump shot at the end of the first half capped the Aggies’ 10-2 run, overtaking an Idaho State lead of 26-19 and turning it into a 29-28 advantage going into the break.
Utah State Against the Big Sky
Utah State is 247-114 all-time against opponents from the Big Sky, including a 38-13 advantage over Idaho State. The Bengals are tied for the 17th-longest series in Utah State history, with four other teams also among the top-20, including Montana State (third, 76-40), Weber State (eighth, 42-26), Idaho (17th, 37-14) and Montana (19th, 28-14).
Utah State Against the Gem State
Utah State is 109-39 all-time against schools from the state of Idaho, carrying a 38-13 mark against Idaho State, 37-14 mark against Idaho, 30-12 mark against Boise State and a 4-0 mark against Lewis-Clark State.
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