Game 28: Idaho (16-11, 7-4) at Utah State (14-14, 5-6)
When: February 24, 2012 (6:05 p.m. PT)
Where: Logan, Utah (Dee Glen Smith Spectrum)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Online Video: www.UtahStateAggies.com
Live Stats: www.UtahStateAggies.com
A Look at the Aggies
Utah State is 14-14 this season and 5-6 in Western Athletic Conference play entering the weekend. The Aggies are 2-2 in their last four games, with home wins over Louisiana Tech and Montana Tech and losses to New Mexico State and UC Santa Barbara. USU averages 67.2 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting, while allowing 64.7 points and a 41.8 percent opponent clip. The Aggies are also shooting 36.5 percent from 3-point range this season. Sophomore Preston Medlin leads the team with a 15.6 scoring average on 41.3 percent 3-point shooting. Senior forward Morgan Grim leads the team with 6.1 rebounds per game, while junior foward Kyisean Reed leads the team with a .625 shooting percentage.
Utah State Head Coach Stew Morrill
Stew Morrill is in his 26th season as a collegiate head coach and his 14th year at Utah State. He holds a career record of 556-255 and a 338-117 tally with the Aggies. Morrill is the three-time reigning WAC Coach of the Year and has led Utah State to 12-consecutive 23-win seasons and 12 postseason berths in a row, including eight NCAA Tournament bids. Under Morrill, the Aggies have won the last four WAC regular-season titles. He is a 1974 graduate of Gonzaga.
Vandals and Aggies
Friday’s game is the 48th meeting in series history between Idaho and Utah State. The Aggies hold a 33-14 edge all-time, including an 11-2 record since the two became Western Athletic Conference foes. The Aggies have won eight in a row over Idaho at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum since the Vandals pulled off a 52-51 victory on Mar. 1, 2003, at Logan. Idaho won the first meeting this season at the Cowan Spectrum, 57-54, and are trying for their first season sweep of USU since the teams became conference foes in 1997. Idaho has only beaten Utah State twice in a season once, when the team did so on consecutive days - Dec. 26 and 27, 1957 - at neutral sites in Southern Idaho.
Junior Kyle Barone had a career game in the win over Portland State on Feb. 18. In the 77-68 victory, he went 10-of-11 (.909) from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line for a career-high 25 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds, dished two assists and had one block and one steal. During Idaho’s active five-game winning streak, Barone is averaging 17.6 points and 8.4 rebounds on 33-of-54 (.611) shooting.
A Senior Day Special?
Senior Landon Tatum served up 10 assists with no turnovers in the 77-68 Senior Night win over Portland State on Feb. 18. The last time a Vandal player had 10+ assists without a turnover was Mar. 6, 2010 - also Senior Night - when then-senior Mac Hopson had 11 dimes without a turnover in the 78-69 win over Hawai`i.
Filling The Box Score
Senior Landon Tatum and sophomore Stephen Madison each notched a first career double-double in the Feb. 18 win over Portland State. Tatum tied a career high with 10 assists, then knocked down seven free throws down the stretch to finish with 10 points. Madison had a monster first half and finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Tatum’s points-assists double-double was the first of its kind at Idaho since Mac Hopson had 13 points and 10 assists in Idaho’s 71-68 win at Fresno State on Feb. 28, 2009. It was the second time this season Idaho has had two players earn double-doubles in the same game.
Doubling the Weekly Award
After his 10-of-11 shooting performance and 25-point scoring outburst in Idaho’s 77-68 win over Portland State, junior center Kyle Barone was named Verizon WAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 13-19 - his second honor in a row. His back-to-back weekly awards are a first for the Vandals since joining the WAC in the 2005-06 season.
Going Out as Winners
After Idaho’s 77-68 win over Portland State on Feb. 18, the Vandals moved to 4-0 in Senior Night games under Don Verlin. Before Verlin, Idaho had lost nine consecutive Senior Day matchups. Idaho previously beat Fresno State, 59-56, in 2009 and took down Hawai`i, 78-69, in 2010. The Vandals beat Seattle, 78-69, last season.
Protect Your Home
Idaho went 10-4 this season in home games and achieved double-digit home victories for the third time in four seasons under head coach Don Verlin. The Vandals went 13-3 Verlin’s first year in 2008-09, followed with an 8-6 record in 2009-10 and went 10-5 last season. Idaho is 41-18 in home games under Verlin.
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