LOGAN — Utah State will once again have to shake off a disappointing loss on the road as it tries to snap its struggles away from the Spectrum at Fresno State on Saturday night. The Aggies lost 53-52 at Western Athletic Conference-leading Nevada on Thursday night in heartbreaking fashion as Wolf Pack point guard Deonte Burton hit an off-balanced 3-pointer with just 11 seconds remaining to give Nevada the victory.
While the loss was no doubt disheartening for the Aggies, they can take some pride in the way they played in Reno. In their last matchup in Logan, a 78-71 Wolf Pack win, Nevada dominated the Aggies on the glass. Utah State toughened up and more than held its own on the glass Thursday night, outrebounding Nevada by 14 and grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and only allowing seven.
The challenge for Utah State will be to finally put everything together on the road. While the Aggies rebounded much better against Nevada, they turned the ball over 16 times. In a slow-paced game that equaled out to a turnover on over 25 percent of their possessions. To have a repeat of the 72-53 win the Aggies notched over Fresno State in Logan last month they will have to keep control of the ball and rebound.
Besides rebounding and keeping control of the ball, it will also help if the Aggies can shoot the way they did in the last matchup. Utah State hit a blistering 65 percent of their shots in that home blowout, one of their best offensive games of the season. Preston Medlin had 19 in that game while Kyisean Reed added 16 points and 10 rebounds in his only double-double of the season.
"(Fresno State) has basically been snake-bit in close game after close game, much like San Jose State was last Saturday. Their record really doesn't tell the story in terms of their chance to win games and they're going to jump up and win some," said head coach Stew Morrill prior to the Aggies leaving on their road trip. "They're going to definitely jump up and win some games and they've been close as it is."
Fresno State did just that on Thursday night, knocking off Idaho 65-55 at home for only their second WAC win of the season, behind 17 points from Tyler Johnson and 14 points and 10 rebounds from forward Jerry Brown. Utah State comes into the contest at 4-4 in the WAC in a tie for fourth-place with Idaho, four games behind undefeated Nevada. The Bulldogs are currently 2-6 and in seventh place in the WAC.
Following the game at Fresno State, the Aggies will return home for five-straight home games in the month of February. Utah State will not have to travel again until March when it sets out to San Jose and Hawaii on the final week of the regular season.
AGGIES ON THE AIR
Utah State (12-11, 4-4 WAC)
at Fresno State (10-14, 2-6)
Today, 8 p.m. MT
Selland Arena, Fresno
Radio: 97.5 FM