Dec. 21, 2013
Saturday's USU-Troy contest will be preceded by Western Illinois (4-7, 0-0 Summit) against UC Santa Barbara (6-4, 0-0 Big West) at 5:30 p.m. None of the BTI Classic games will be televised, but the USU games will be 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.
Utah State and Troy have only met once before, in USU's 2010 Gossner Foods sponsored tournament, the World Vision Invitational, with USU winning, 80-39, on Dec. 23, 2010. USU's record against teams from the state of Alabama is its same against Troy, as the Trojans are the only team from Alabama that the Aggies have played.
Utah State improved to 8-2 on the year after senior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield's career-high 31 points as part of a double-double to propel Utah State men's basketball to a thrilling 77-71 overtime win over UC Santa Barbara Friday night in the Basketball Travelers, Inc., Classic sponsored by Gossner Foods, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Butterfield's 31 points are the most points scored by an Aggie since Preston Medlin scored 32 points against Idaho on Feb. 24, 2012. With his season-high 10 rebounds, Butterfield collected his first double-double of the season and his eighth of his career. Senior guard Medlin netted 14 points while junior forward Ben Clifford matched his season-high of 10 points, both of which have come against UCSB, as the Aggies beat the Gauchos, 71-64, on Nov. 16 in Santa Barbara. Kyle Davis collected 10 rebounds for his second-straight double-digit rebounding outing and third of the season, but was his first not posting a double-double as he tallied four points. Medlin added seven rebounds and junior center Jordan Stone posted five boards, helping USU to a 40-29 rebounding advantage, the Aggies' sixth time this year and third-straight game, with a double-digit rebounding advantage on its opponent. Sophomore guard Marcel Davis dished out a season-high eight assists to go with seven points.
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 nets 15.0 ppg, Medlin tallies 14.0 ppg and Davis adds 10.5 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 is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. Medlin is shooting 46.3 percent (25-of-54) from three-point range, making 43.4 percent (43-of-99) of his field goals, adding 78.4 percent (29-of-37) at the free throw line. Medlin also dishes out a team-leading 3.9 assists per game and has a team-best 3.25 assist-turnover ratio, as well as averaging 3.3 rebounds per game. Butterfield is shooting a team-best 50.0 percent (23-of-46) from three-point range, as part of 51-of-100 (51.0 percent) from the field, adding 25-of-30 (83.3 percent) at the charity stripe. Davis adds 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He is shooting a team-high 63.5 percent (33-of-52) from the field, while also shooting 55.0 percent (22-of-40) at the free throw line.
As a team, USU is averaging 76.1 points per game, while making just under half of its field goals at 48.7 percent (258-of-530), including 41.4 percent (70-of-169) from beyond the arc, as well as 75.4 percent (175-of-232) at the free throw line. Defensively, the Aggies are limiting the opposition to 67.1 ppg, while holding them to 42.7 percent (240-of-562) field goal shooting, including just 28.5 percent (45-of-158) from three-point range, as well as 72.3 percent (146-of-202) at the charity stripe. USU has a +10.4 rebounding margin (37.9-27.5), while averaging 17.4 assists, 4.3 blocks and 3.0 steals per game, as well as committing 11.9 turnovers per contest.
The Trojans are the only team in the tournament without a win, as Troy has suffered a pair of close losses, losing late in both games, falling 57-54 to UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, as UCSB's Kyle Boswell hit the game-winning three-pointer with eight seconds left. On Friday, Troy led Western Illinois at halftime and the Trojans led by as much as 10 in the second half, but the Leathernecks rallied for a 61-58 win, netting 3-of-4 free throws in the final six seconds. Adam Link led a trio of double-figure scores for Western Illinois (5-6) with a game-high 24 points to help the Fighting Leathernecks to a 61-58 come-from-behind win against Troy (4-6. Western Illinois trailed 35-28 at intermission and was behind by as many as 10 points in the second-half before closing the game on a 20-10 run over the final 9:52 to post the three-point victory.
During the final 2:04, Troy was 0-of-4 from the free throw line, while WIU was 3-of-4 as Jabari Sandifer hit a pair of free tosses with 0:06 to give the Fighting Leathernecks a two-point advantage, and then went 1-of-2 at the line with 0:01 remaining to make the final score 61-58. Garret Covington scored 14 points and Tate Stensgard added 13 points for Western Illinois, who finished the game shooting 38.8 percent (19-49), including 25.0 percent from three-point range (3-12) and 74.1 percent at the free throw line (20-27). Tevin Calhoun had 14 points to lead Troy, while Kevin Thomas scored 13 points and Hunter Williams added 12 points. Troy shot 47.6 percent from the field for the game (20-42), including 43.8 percent from behind the arc (7-16), but were just 11-of-25 (.440) at the charity stripe. Troy used a 9-1 run in the first-half to open an 18-10 advantage and its lead later swelled to 13 at 35-22 late in the first-half, before Western Illinois scored the final four points to cut the deficit to nine at 35-26 at intermission.
Troy is led by senior guard Antoine Myers with 11.7 points per game, as well as dishing out a team-high 3.4 assists per game , shooting 51.3 percent from the field, in addition to 66.1 percent at the free throw line. Junior forward Kevin Thomas adds 11.6 ppg, and leads the team with 8.6 rebounds per game, making 58.1 percent of his field goals and 62.5 percent at the free throw line. Thomas is second on the team with 0.8 blocks per game. Senior guard Hunter Williams adds 10.6 ppg to go with being second on the team with 3.3 assists per game, as well as making a team-high 24 three-pointers as part of 32.9 percent shooting behind the arc, but just 29.9 percent overall field goal percentage, while averaging 85.7 percent at the charity stripe.
Troy is averaging 66.8 points per game, while shooting 42.1 percent from the field, 29.9 percent from three-point range and 67.0 percent at the free throw line. Defensively, the Trojans yield 67.0 ppg, with their opponents shooting 40.4 percent field goal shooting, along with 28.4 percent from beyond and 65.2 percent at the free pitch stripe. Troy has a -5.4 rebounding advantage (34.6-40.0), while averaging 12.1 assists, 6.6 steals and 3.0 blocks per game, while committing 13.2 turnovers per contest. The Trojans entered the week seventh in the NCAA in fewest personal fouls per game (15.4), as well as 11th in fewest fouls overall (123).
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USU men's basketball single-game, multi-game and season tickets are on sale. All single-game tickets will go on sale two weeks prior to each game. 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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