PROVO -- No matter when they play this game, it promises to be a hotly contested one.
BYU and Utah State take a late-season break from conference play to meet tonight in men's college basketball action at the Marriott Center.
The game was originally set for Dec. 5., but was postponed due to a medical situation with USU junior forward Danny Berger the day before.
The Cougars (19-8, 9-4 WCC) and Aggies (18-6, 9-5 WAC) have both enjoyed fairly successful seasons, but in reality, need as many quality wins as they can get if they have postseason aspirations.
"I'm really pleased with how we shared the ball on offense," BYU coach Dave Rose said after the Cougars' 86-72 victory over Portland. "Our emphasis in the last week was to try to get our guys to compete together as a group on both ends of floor. Defensively we were really together as a group in man and zone."
The win came on the heels of a pair of unexpected WCC losses.
"Setbacks are disappointing but I am really pleased with the result of tonight's game and look forward to a competitive game on Tuesday."
USU coach Stew Morrill and his squad has had its share of setbacks, starting with Berger's health scare. Then, just as the Aggies seemed to find their groove in WAC play, team leaders Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed suffered season-ending injuries against New Mexico State.
USU avenged the loss to NMSU on Saturday, topping the Aggies 73-69 at the Smith Spectrum.
"Obviously a quick turn around and an odd time to play this game. This is usually a November game, December at the latest," Morrill said. "So it is unique circumstances for both teams to play right in the middle of conference, and towards the tail end of conference play really.
"Yet at the same time for us, it is a step out of conference the entire week with the BracketBusters and BYU."
BYU ranks 11th in the NCAA in scoring, netting 78.3 ppg, while allowing 69.3 ppg, for a +9.0 scoring margin.
Tyler Haws leads BYU and is ninth in the NCAA in scoring with 21.0 ppg while Brandon Davies is 47th in the nation in scoring at 18.0 ppg.
"You have the same challenges that you always have when you play BYU, especially playing them in Provo; they are always very good. They always have guys who can really score, they are always extremely well coached, and we come off a weeken. Davies has always been really good and gives them that five man with a post-up threat. The thing about Davies that makes him so good is not just his ability to score but his ability pass the ball."
The Aggies counter with an oustide scorer and inside beast of their own.
Junior center Jarred Shaw is averaging nearly a double-double with 14.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, adding 1.1 blocks per game as well.
Meanwhile, junior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield averages 11.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game and has taken over the go-to role with Medlin on the sidelines.