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Utah State basketball: Aggies travel to San Jose, look to end rough season on high note

Published: Friday, Aug. 28 2015 9:35 p.m. MDT

Utah State's Viko Noma'aea, top, and  New Mexico's Hugh Greenwood scramble for the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 in Albuquerque, N.M. New Mexico won 67-58. (Craig Fritz, AP) Utah State's Viko Noma'aea, top, and New Mexico's Hugh Greenwood scramble for the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 in Albuquerque, N.M. New Mexico won 67-58. (Craig Fritz, AP)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — When Utah State takes on former WAC foe San Jose State on Saturday, the Aggies will be looking to pull themselves out of an awful start to 2014.

Utah State (15-13, 5-11) is undefeated against the Spartans in the last eight meetings, dating back to 2010.

But USU head coach Stew Morrill isn’t taking anything as a gimme.

“Every game that they’ve lost at home for the most part has been really close," Morrill said. "They see us rolling into town at 5-11 and are probably licking their chops thinking this is their chance to get a win.”

Utah State leads the Mountain West in 3-point shot percentage but hasn't won a conference game shooting less than 40 percent from beyond the arc.

But the Aggies don’t have a monopoly on long-range shooting: The Spartans are ranked No. 8 in the nation in 3-pointers attempted.

“Their best opportunity to win is to shoot you out from three, and that’s what they’ll be looking to do, Morrill said. “They did a good job of it here, especially in the first half. We’ve got to be able to defend the 3-point line.”

San Jose State made a school-record 15 shots from beyond the arc when it lost 86-67 to the Aggies in January.

The Spartans (7-20, 1-14) are led by freshman Rashad Muhammed, who averages 13.6 points per game and is nine 3-pointers away from SJSU’s single-season school record — all as a player who doesn’t start.

“I’m sure they have their reasons, whatever they might be,” Morrill said. “Maybe he likes coming off the bench, maybe something else, I don’t know. You have to treat him as a starter.”

Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen on ROOT Sports.

“We only have a few opportunities left this season and we need to go play,” Morrill said.

Tavin Stucki is a senior journalism student at Utah State University and editor-in-chief of The Utah Statesman, the Aggie campus newspaper. Twitter: @DesNewsAggies @StuckiAggies

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