LOGAN — After snapping a five-game losing skid on Wednesday night against Nevada, Utah State now looks to start a winning streak for the first time in Mountain West Conference play.
The Aggies (13-9, 3-7 Mountain West) host Boise State (15-8, 5-5) in a Saturday afternoon tip at the Spectrum. The game starts at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
The Aggies will be looking for revenge after falling to the Broncos back in January. Jarred Shaw scored 24 points in that contest, but was outdueled by Bronco Ryan Watkins, who scored 15 points and had 16 rebounds.
Utah State has made up for deficiencies in its defense this season with good rebounding, but struggled to keep Watkins, who had 10 offensive rebounds, and the rest of the Broncos off the offensive glass that night.
Having a healthy Kyle Davis for the full game should help the Aggies in the rebounding battle Saturday. Davis had eight rebounds in 21 minutes against Boise State before leaving early with a knee injury. In the win over Nevada on Wednesday, Davis had 12 points and three rebounds, but tipped out several loose balls for teammates to grab. USU is 10-5 this season when snaring more boards than its opponent.
“That one’s water under the bridge,” head coach Stew Morrill said of USU's first loss to Boise State. “They’re coming off a couple of tough losses. We’ve had our share of tough losses. Both teams are going to want to try to find a win somehow.”
Boise State is on a two-game losing streak and, much like the Aggies a few weeks ago, had nationally ranked San Diego State on the ropes at home in their last outing before bowing out to the Aztecs.
Also of concern for Morrill is the timing of the game. Over the last few years the Aggies have consistently played at 7 p.m., but this season, to accommodate television broadcasts, conference games have started as late as 9 p.m. in Logan and now as early as 4 p.m.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was weird,” Morrill said. “I’m sure the more you do it, the more you adjust. It changes your shootaround to earlier in the morning than you’d like to do it. If you’re on the road, you go earlier than the home team, and if it’s a 9 o’clock game, you better get a nap because it’s going to get to be a late night.”
The trade-off for a little bit of practice discomfort, however, is getting national television exposure, which pays huge dividends when Morrill and his staff hit the recruiting trail.
“The TV is worth it,” Morrill said. “I’ve always said that the TV exposure is really important to the university and to our program recruiting-wise.”
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.
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