Courtesy: Ilya Pinchuk (Moscow, Idaho)
|Vandals host USU on Thursday|
Game 20: Idaho (8-11, 4-5) vs. Utah State (14-5, 5-4)
When: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 (7:05 p.m. PT)
Where: Moscow, Idaho (Cowan Spectrum)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Television: ESPN Regional/Altitude 2 [Trey Bender/Stephen Howard]
Online Video: VandalXtra/ESPN3
Live Stats: www.GoVandals.com
White Out the Spectrum/Frontier Communications
Fans are encouraged to wear white to Thursday's game. White Out the Spectrum is sponsored by the Idaho Army National Guard and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free white t-shirt. Thursday is also Frontier Communications Family Night. With proof of service (bill, phone number or email), Frontier customers will receive a special $5 ticket rate. Before the game, there will be free photos with Joe Vandal, a Frontier Communications table to check out Frontier's broadband speed and other quality services. Fans can sign up to win either an iPad, laptop or 42" TV in the Select Your Technology Contest and one fan at the game will win a gift basket that includes a Kindle Fire.
A Look at the Utah State
Utah State comes into Moscow with a 14-5 overall record and a 5-4 WAC slate. The Aggies have lost four in a row since absorbing injuries to leading scorer Preston Medlin (wrist) and starting forward Kyisean Reed (knee). Together, that duo represented 28.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game before their injuries. As a team, USU shoots 46.9 percent and scores 69.1 points per game. Their opponents get just 63.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting. The Aggies lead the WAC with a 37.7 clip from 3-point range, along with a league-best plus-8.3 rebounding margin. USU is also the most effective offensive rebounding team in the WAC with rebounds on 38.8 percent of their misses. Junior center Jarred Shaw, a WAC Newcomer of the Year frontrunner, averages 12.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
USU Head Coach Stew Morrill
Stew Morrill is in his 27th year overall as a collegiate head coach and his 15th season at Utah State, where he holds a 359-124 record. Overall, he’s 577-262 in his coaching career that includes stops at Montana and Colorado State before his time at Utah State. In his career, he’s led his teams to eight NCAA Tournament bids and six National Invitation Tournament appearances. He is the winningest coachin Utah State school history.
On the heels of the best individual shooting performance in school history, Idaho took a 74-70 win over UTSA in their last time out on Jan. 26. Senior center Kyle Barone put forth a 25-point, 16-rebound effort and went 10-of-10 from the field. His clutch assist on a Mike McChristian 3-pointer as the shot clock was winding down with less than a minute to play stood as his best play of the night, however. Idaho shot 52 percent from the floor, outrebounded the Roadrunners by a 38-24 margin and withstood a 3-point barrage to the tune of 13 made triples - an Idaho opponent season high.
Vandals vs. Aggies
Recent history has yielded some very exciting Idaho-Utah State matchups. The home team has won each of the last seven matchups, including earlier this season when USU’s Preston Medlin hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the game into OT in an 82-75 Aggie win at Logan, Utah. Idaho has knocked off Utah State in each of the last two seasons at the Cowan Spectrum. Last year, Djim Bandoumel’s 16-point, six-rebound outburst off the bench lifted Idaho and guard Landon Tatum drew a key charge with less than a minute to play in a 57-54 Idaho win.
Before taking the head coaching job at Idaho in 2008, Don Verlin spent 15 years as an assistant under Utah State head coach Stew Morrill. Verlin has a 2-8 record against his mentor, with both wins coming in consecutive seasons at the Cowan Spectrum in 2011 and 2012.
Every Possession Counts
Since Idaho head coach Don Verlin took over in 2008-09, the four times the Utah State-Idaho series was played at the Cowan Spectrum, the most points either team scored is 64 by Idaho in 2011. Idaho (.480) and Utah State (.469) rank first and second in the WAC in field goal percentage this season. Another key number is rebounding margin, where Utah State is first (+8.3) and Idaho is third (+6.9) in the WAC this year. Idaho has the top defensive rebounding percentage (.738), while Utah State has the top offensive rebounding percentage (.388) in the WAC. It’s safe to say that there may not be too many misses in this game, and that every rebound is going to be valuable.
Senior center Kyle Barone went 10-of-10 from the field on Saturday, Jan. 26 against UTSA (five dunks helped) and in doing so, posted the best single-game shooting performance in Idaho history. The previous record of 9-for-9 shooting was shared by Phil Hopson (Jan. 30, 1982) and Tanoris Shepard (Nov. 26, 2002). It was the best shooting performance by a WAC player since Louisiana Tech’s Magnum Rolle went 11-of-11 from the field on Jan. 24, 2009. Barone’s shooting performance is also tied as second best in NCAA Division I so far this season.
Click on the PDF link above to view complete game notes.