As the second half of Western Athletoc Conference play begins, the Utah State Aggies will make a tough road trip to play a pair of teams below them in the standings.
Stew Morrill's Aggies will play at Idaho tonight, the move on to meet Seattle on Saturday.
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.
"Hopefully we don't have too many trials and tribulations," Morrill said of the week ahead. "Last year on this trip it was tough sledding in the Seattle area, so hopefully we will get out of here okay.
"Obviously these teams both played us very well at home, we had to make a spectacular shot to beat Idaho, and Seattle was in the game the whole way. So we know that we have a big challenge going to their courts, Idaho is probably as efficient an offensive team as we have in the WAC, they are shooting high-percentages, they have a lot of offensive weapons."
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.
Idaho is coming off a 74-70 win over UTSA. 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.
* COUGARS BEGIN SECOND HALF OF WCC PLAY AT PEPPERDINE: Knowing they need to kick things in gear, the BYU basketball team will begin the second half of conference play at Pepperdine tonight.
Earlier this year, the Waves (10-10) gave one of the WCC's top teams all it could handle for a while, but Pepperdine couldn't sustain the effort into the second half and fell 76-51 at BYU.
The Waves led by as many as nine in the first half and took a 35-30 lead at the break while holding the Cougars to 28 percent shooting. But BYU (16-6) turned up its defense in the second half to pull away.
* NO. 20 NEW MEXICO 63, WYOMING 59: At Laramie, Wyo., Cameron Bairstow scored 17 points to lead No. 20 New Mexico over Wyoming to hand the Cowboys their third straight loss.
Hugh Greenwood added 13, Kendall Williams 12 and Alex Kirk 10 for the Lobos (18-3, 5-1 Mountain West).
New Mexico has won 10 of its last 12 games against Wyoming and five of the last six in Laramie.
The Cowboys (15-5, 2-5) were led by Derrious Gilmore's 15 points, all of which came on 3-pointers.